Press conference

Arteta on facing City and picking Lacazette

Mikel Arteta can expect a warm welcome on Wednesday night when he takes his new club to his old club.

Manchester City v Arsenal will be "a very special night", according to our head coach, and at his pre-match press conference he discussed his inside knowledge of City, whether Alex Lacazette will start and much more.
 
Read on for some of the key quotes:
 
on how special it is to play Manchester City...
It's going to be a very special night, I am very excited to get back there. I have some fantastic memories, a lot of friends, a lot of people that I like. But obviously now I am in a different position, another bench and I will defend my club as well as I can.

on how Mikel's inside knowledge will help us beat City...
It gives me a very clear idea of what they are trying to do, what they will be looking to do, but it's something different to be able to stop that and as well create the issues that I think we can create for them. That has to happen on the day, when they are at their best, we know what they are capable of doing, the variation they have. At the end of the day, it's about the players on the pitch and their performance.

on how Arsenal have evolved since we last played City...
I don't know, I wasn't here, I cannot judge what was going on behind the scenes, I know the team that I took, where we are right now and I think we've come along and made progress in a lot of areas, and there are still other areas where we have to improve a lot of things.

on if Mikel is still talking to Pep ahead of Wednesday...
Right now, not yet. I'm sure he will be focused. He had a game yesterday [Sunday] as well. We are all focused on our own job and that's enough.

on watching United beat City...
I think every team is completely different, every game is different and we play away from home and United were playing at home. It was a very competitive game and a very good game to watch as well on a tactical side. At the end, the boxes decided the game again.

on whether we can beat City...
We're going to go there trying to beat them, for sure. That's going to be the game plan. We'll put all the things we can on the pitch to make it difficult for them to create the scenarios during the game, and let's see if we turn up on the day at our best and we can perform and win the game.
 
on qualifying for the Champions League…
I don’t know. It’s still a long way to go, we want to go game by game. Three weeks ago it was impossible, now it looks a little bit more possible, but still [it depends on] the results and our performances.
 
on Manchester City's season…
Sometimes small details make the difference. I think they’ve been very unlucky in some of the games that they lost, in my opinion. I was there when we lost a few and we completely dominated games and lost the game in one or two details. This is football, and it can happen.
 
on potentially beating Manchester City…
I think we have to be at our best, that’s for sure. You have any chance to win a game at the Etihad against those players, we have to be at our best. I think we are in two different processes and levels, at the moment we have to try manage those individually and collectively. We have to be at our best.
 
on selecting Lacazette to start…
It’s not because of the fact he scored, it’s because of the way he trains every day. The way he’s trying, the way he played even when he wasn’t scoring. He’s always at his best, training, his attitude is top. The same with the others so they all have a chance.
 
on Bukayo Saka's future…
The club is doing what it has to do and is having conversations, [and hopefully] we’ll get it resolved.

on whether he expects the coronavirus to force us to play behind closed doors...
Well it looks like it's affecting more and more countries each time. Hopefully it won't affect us, but I don't know how realistic that is either. So we're just following what the governments are saying and what the club is saying and we just have to adapt to the situation.

on how much the situation is affecting the players and our routines...
No, it's just a few routines we have to be more careful with. Minimal contact and things like that. For the rest, we are acting normally.

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