Press conference

Arteta on Martinelli, Tomiyasu, racism and covid


There were plenty of talking points after our comfortable away win at Elland Road on Saturday.

Gabriel Martinelli continued his rich vein of form with two more goals, and the manager once again praised the contribution of the Brazilian forward.

In his post-match press conference Arteta also answered questions on allegations of racism during the match, updated us on the injury to Takehiro Tomiyasu and revealed which two players are out with Covid. 

Read on to see what he said:

on the importance of timing and patience with Martinelli…
Well, we see the player every day and we know where the player has to be to be able to appear in the right frame, and then sustain that level into the season. We’ve started to use Gabi more and more when we thought that was the case. There’s no point exposing a player even when there’s a lot of opinions that it has to be done because it won’t be beneficial for the player. And in the end we are here to protect the player and develop the players that we have in the best possible way. We judge every day with what we see and I’m really happy with him and the way he’s performing. 

on Martinelli’s development in terms of his positioning on either wing…
He’s come a long, long way because his energy, his passion, his commitment, it doesn’t get much better than that ever, but there are other aspects in the game that he’s had to develop and maintain the ones that he’s exceptional at, like today, because when he has chances he puts them away. Again, he’s in the right direction. 

on allegations of racism towards our players…
Unfortunately I can confirm that and it was reported to the stadium manager and now the authorities will deal with that. 

on whether one of our substitutes heard the racism from the crowd…
Yes, it was a player sitting on the bench. One of the players heard those comments. 

on the alleged incident...
I don't know exactly who it was [directed at], that is why they will have to be interviewed and they will deal with the authorities in that case.

on Tomiyasu going off injured…
No, it was more of a muscular injury. He’s got a big load on him because he’s played every single minute since he’s joined us and even this week he’s been struggling a little bit. We decided to take him off, he wasn’t 100 per cent confident to continue in the game, and hopefully he’s not injured.

on why London Colney had to be deep cleaned earlier this week…
Pure precaution. We had some cases in the staff and we wanted to prevent any issues. Everybody that we’ve seen around us had a few cases and the cases have risen, so we wanted to protect our people and Gary [the club doctor] and the medical staff made the right call to close it for a day, make sure that all the tests from everybody was negative and make sure that when we’re back, everybody is safe.

on Sambi Lokonga having Covid and whether there’s anyone else…
We have another player as well, Pablo has Covid, so unfortunately they will be out.

on unvaccinated players...
I've already mentioned that we can suggest and guide players to get vaccinated, but it's a really personal thing to do, and I don't think that you can push any further than that. You have to educate them and try to give them the right information, try to understand the different cultures that we are involved in in football and after that we've done really well so far and hopefully, we can continue like that.

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