Press conference

Arteta on FA Cup, rotation, Chambers: transcript

Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Thursday as he sat down to discuss our Emirates FA Cup third-round clash with Leeds United.

Our head coach was asked about the Championship leaders, how seriously he takes this competition, the latest on Calum Chambers and more.
 
Read on for a full transcript:

on how special it was to celebrate with players on pitch after Man Utd...
Yeah it was a very positive one. I'm very relieved to get the first win and we wanted to start the win in a different mood. I was very pleased with the win and with the performance.

on the FA Cup having a special place in his heart...
Absolutely. That final day of the season at Wembley and the memories that I've got with this football club... We have to be challenging for the cups and we'll try to do that again this season.

on playing three matches in seven days...
Yes [it's taken a lot out of the squad] because at the moment we are managing a lot of injuries. We haven't been able to rotate the team a lot but we survived. Yesterday I was a little bit scared because we could have exposed a few players and got some injuries. We got through the game and obviously we suffered physically, but I think all the teams in the Premier League are in the same position at the moment. We worked through it, we suffered together and now we have a few days to recover.

on whether that Man Utd win has set a standard...
I hope so. I hope this is the least we have to expect from the team. There are many areas that I would like to improve, for sure, but as well in the short time we've been together, for us to see such a change is encouraging for me. I'm pleased with that.

on what's changed with Granit Xhaka and why he could stay...
I had a conversation with him and I wanted to understand his feelings. That's first, and his reasoning why he was thinking it probably wasn't the right place for him to continue his career. I gave him my opinion, my perspective, and I told him that I was ready to support him from the club perspective, and I wanted his team-mates to have his back to help him to change his mind. We need him. I believe that if we're able to do that, the fans will respond in a positive way. I've seen him act every day, how he trains and how he lives his profession, as well as the quality of the player. I think he could be a really important player for the club.

on Hertha Berlin believing they could still sign Xhaka...
From my perspective, I don't want him to leave.

on whether he could still leave...
I hope. I don't want him to. I said no to the club and I said no to him! After, in life, I cannot control what happens.

on what Arsenal fans can expect from January transfer window...
That we're going to try to be in the market to see options that can strengthen the team. That's for sure and that's our obligation, and we're going to be working on that. My obligation is to give my opinion on the things we can improve. Obviously we have some bad injuries, like Calum a few days ago. That's obviously going to change our plans at the back, but the reality at the moment is that we're not going to be able to do much. I'm more concerned at the moment about getting people back from injuries than I am the signings. I want to improve the players I have here, get everybody on board and understanding what we're trying to do. If something extra comes up and we think it's the right opportunity to improve what we have, let's do it.

on Calum Chambers' injury...
He's in London. He's having surgery. We will know more about that this afternoon when he comes back from the theatre.

on what his gut feeling is about Chambers...
I don't know. It will be a significant injury. We will see once we hear what the doctor says. It's not looking good.

on why Eddie Nketiah has come back...
We have to sit down with the loan department and we'll do that this afternoon, to discuss the best possible way for him to keep developing. I think the environment that he's been living in has improved him as a player, 100 per cent. He played some minutes, not as much as we wanted, but he's a kid with incredible potential and we have to make a decision for the club, not for the next four months but for his career. What's the best thing to do? We have to sit down with him, hear from him - that's very important because we need to know what he needs as well - and make the right decision for the next five months.

on whether Nketiah will stay or go out on loan again...
Again, I have to speak with him. I think the first idea was that he was going to be on loan for the rest of the season. We have to assess the situation again now. At the moment [I don't know] but I will have some answers very soon.

on whether he expects Leeds to be in the Premier League next season…
I do, yes. The way they play, the manner they behave, I follow their coach for a long time and I know how tough it will be to play against them.

on what is different about Marcelo Bielsa…
Just what he gets out of his team, how he makes them fight and challenge and run and compete, and never give up in any game or any circumstances. He generates that belief in the players, those demands and that is why, in my opinion, he is one of the most successful managers.

on every manager wanting to do that…
Yes, but to do that consistently every three days, at that level, is very different. And for me the best thing is that when you talk to players that had him as a coach, the words that they have for him are always positive. They were better players after [playing for him], better people, they understood the profession better.

on whether we should take the FA Cup seriously…
Absolutely. I would like to have more fit players so I can rotate more, but we will see what we have after tomorrow. But obviously it is a competition that is very attached to this football club in recent years and we have to take to very seriously and we have to try to go to the next round.

on the importance of winning at home for confidence levels…
It was a long time not winning at home, to create that connection with the fans, that belief that what we are trying to do has a very clear direction, supported with a win, is much better. For the players as well, they were suffering with the results and the inconsistency, so that [win] will generate more belief.

on whether this job is bigger than he initially thought…
I knew about then job, how big it was going to be. The challenge? Yes, maybe a little bit bigger than expected!

on Aubameyang’s future…
I don’t even think about that possibility [of him leaving] with Auba. I want him here.

on if it's true that Mesut ran 11.5km yesterday...
I haven't checked the physical stats yet, I was checking on other things that are, in my opinion, more relevant. But just by looking at him and what he did on that pitch, I would say so yes.

on if he's been speaking with Mesut about needing to work harder...
Yes, but not just individually to him. To all the players individually and collectively, with what I expect from them and what they have to expect from each other when they are in that football pitch. He is no different. He's got the same capacity to run like any other player. It's about will and about wanting to do it.

on David Luiz saying he has put the fun back into Arsenal...
I don't know, I try to bring good energy, good spirit and trying to be positive with them that there's still a long way to play in this league. Trying to give them clarity and direction and to play football and enjoy this profession. That's the reason why they are here. They are such privileged boys to be playing for this football club and they have to realise it every day. We have to help them to realise that they are here to have fun as well, not just to have pressure and to live with fear about playing in that stadium. When you get the crowd going, they are so privileged to be on that pitch.

on whether he wants players like Aubameyang to feel that Arsenal is a fun place and somewhere they want to stay...
Absolutely, yes.

on if he has any new injury concerns...
At the moment, no. At the moment, we are okay.

 

 

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