Arteta: “How can I not love those players?”

Mikel Arteta has praised the character of his players after seeing them scramble to score two late goals and claim a 3-3 draw against Southampton.

Trailing 3-1 going into the final few minutes, Martin Odegaard fired in a shot from the edge of the box before Bukayo Saka stole in to grab the equaliser, and earn a point from a game that looked early on we may struggle to get something out of.

That has caused Mikel to focus on the positive aspects of the night, saying: “It was a very emotional story again right from the beginning with the way we conceded the first and second goals so early.

“But the team showed incredible determination and character to stay there, keep trying and believing. After 3-1 when normally the players and crowd would bottle it, we did absolutely the opposite. We kept trying, kept pushing, we started to build an incredible atmosphere again, we scored the second and the third, and with eight minutes to go, you have two big chances that you should win the game. 

“My feeling is ‘how can I not love those players?’ It’s incredible again what they’ve done at their age, when everything is at stake and you have made a couple of mistakes and things are difficult.
“They made me proud, they made the staff proud. Playing in front of our crowd and how generous they are, what they are giving to the team is just exceptional. The only downside is that we couldn’t give them the three points they deserved.”
As the dust settles on this result, thoughts will already begin to turn to our crunch game against Manchester City on Wednesday where the title race will take it’s next turn.

Arteta feels that while this may be an important point in the future, he still has frustrations we didn’t earn more from the game, and will be quickly be looking at ways to ensure that doesn’t happen again against the reigning champions.

“Obviously, it’s better to get a point than none, but the feeling today is that we lost it,” he added. “We have to look in the mirror, because obviously giving the three goals we gave away, makes it really difficult to win a game in this league.
“First we need to reset, have some dinner, reflect on the game and start to prepare mentally how best to prepare the plan to go [to Manchester] and win it.”

Watch the full interview with Mikel by pressing play above

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info