Press conference

Arteta on... Newcastle, Partey, Mari and more

It was a busy night for Mikel Arteta on Thursday.

Not only did he have to conduct his usual post-match press conference, but also conduct a separate briefing looking ahead to Monday's game against Newcastle United.

Our manager discussed some key fitness questions about his squad, Steve Bruce, our clean sheet record and more. This is what he said:

on Richard Garlick's appointment as director of football operations...
We lost Huss [Fahmy] at the start of the season. He had a really important role because it is a very important link between myself, Edu the technical director, the board, Vinai. We needed a person with a lot of experience, who knows the job really well, has all the connections in English and international football. As well, someone that can bring some ideas and some qualities that we believe are required to [run] the business the way we want. I am really excited. I met him. He is certainly the candidate we wanted and now we have to respect the process. He is at the Premier League at the moment and we will see when we can get him.

on whether Garlick's appointment takes pressure off him...
It's not about the pressure, it's contribution, it's to bring people into our team that are better than us in certain things. That's going to make us better. We had to replace Huss, and Huss had a really important role not only with the first team but with the academy, and a lot of administration work he's been doing with other entities across Europe. We needed to replace him, there was no question about that. We were looking for months and we all decided that the best person to do that was Richard.

on Pablo Mari...
He had a calf injury in training [on Wednesday]. I think he will miss a few matches. He's another one we will lose but we've got Gabi [Magalhaes] back after COVID, which is good news, we've got Thomas back as well. Let's focus on the positives.

on whether Thomas Partey is ready to start...
Well he's made the right step. Obviously he hasn't played much football in the last four months. He had an injury in exactly the same place he had before when he got injured against Spurs. Now we have the reassurance that he can compete. He did it for 25, 30 minutes. He did it well, he didn't feel anything so now we're going to be looking for the next step

on four cleans sheets in a row...
It's very positive because that s the foundation to win any game, and gives you a great opportunity to go on and win every single game. [Against Crystal Palace] we lacked that quality in the final third, that are needed against teams like Palace. Roy is a manager who gets teams really organised, they have been so successful against big teams over the years because they are a real threat as well in transition and on set pieces. We lacked that against them.

on whether he feels for Steve Bruce after a bad run of form...
Absolutely. When you are sitting in one of these chairs, you suffer and you have a lot of empathy for your colleagues. We all know what it takes, how much we suffer and as well Brucey is a top guy, a really good manager as well but a top guy too.

on what it takes to get through a difficult period...
First, you need support from the club, that is for sure, then you need to feel as well what your fans and supporters can see what you are trying to build. Then the most important part for me is the feeling you have with the players. When you feel that the players are on board and they are really trying for you, that they are behind you, that gives you a big energy. Probably when you feel that the players are lost and not behind you, that is difficult.

on needing to stick to your beliefs...
Yes, in my opinion more than ever. Things can be a bit difficult to see but you have to be able to see and analyse everything that happens, but as well adapt. You cannot be so stuck, sometimes you have to adapt and change some things to try to move and shake things around a little bit to try to find a way. But the margins of this game, a very low-scoring game, win or not win, they are [tight] margins for that. 


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