Press conference

Arteta on Olympiacos and changing routine

Mikel Arteta faced the media in Athens shortly after our arrival in Greece on Wednesday evening.

Our head coach discussed Olympiacos, the importance of the Europa League, his team selection and why he's altered our usual scheduling for a European fixture.

Read on for a full transcript ahead of Arteta's first European fixture as our head coach:

on his first European cup game as a manager...
Well, it's another big competition for us. The run that the club has been through in this competition and last year as well makes it really important for the objectives that we have for the season, and we know the type of game we are expecting tomorrow. Papa has made us even more aware of that, if we had any doubts. We have to be ready.
 
on what Sokratis has said...
He knows everything about Olympiacos, about the country, about the type of fans that we are going to find here. I've been very aware from the games that I've watched about them and their passion, their quality and the atmosphere that we are going to have to be playing in tomorrow. So yes, it's a difficult trip away from home and we're going to expect a tough game and we've prepared for the game knowing that it's going to be a difficult challenge.
 
on last season's Europa League run and if it sets the bar for this season...
Yes. We have to go game-by-game. Every year, every competition is completely different, you play different opponents so you cannot compare what you did last year with this year. The context is different but the objective is still the same one. A club like us has to try to win every competition that we are involved in. That's the mindset that we are playing this game and this competition with.
 
on if he has extra motivation for his first European game...
Well, I'm really excited. Obviously it's my first game in Europe managing the club. I've been watching them a lot and they're a team that are so used to dominating domestically and the style of play that they have, they feel really comfortable with that type of game. When you travel to Europe, the type of games are completely different to the Premier League and we have to adapt and be able to play the type of game that tomorrow's opponents require and that's what we've been working on. Every competition is going to give us the chance to play in Europe one way or another and we have to maximise all the opportunities we have. But it's just a game, we want to come anywhere in Europe or in England with the mindset and with the attitude to win. To play, play, play - and win.
 
on Guendouzi's absence from the squad for the Newcastle game...
I just make my team selection and the squad is selected in regards to how they play, how they train and how they behave. Every week it will be different. One week it will be on reason, another week it will be another reason.
 
on whether Matteo's absence was a disciplinary measure...
It was about the way we train, the way we play, the way we live. I want the best players for the game and I select them in relation to what I see on a daily basis.
 
on his thoughts on Olympiacos...
I would say that collectively it's a team that seems very alive. They have a very clear idea of what they want to do, they don't really play in relation to the opponent. They have very clear principles of how they want to play and they try to execute them against any opponent, whether they are a big club in Europe or a smaller team in the domestic league. That's what I like the most. Obviously they have some individual qualities that we are going to be really aware of, but I've been highly impressed with the level of the collective function of the team.
 
on young players and what gives him confidence to use them against Olympiacos...
It's part of the process. You don't know until you expose them. They can have the best of intentions but they need to go to a stadium like this and when they make a mistake or a bad decision, have the courage to try again and play again. I want to see that in my players whether they are 17 or 35. That's what I expect from them. If they keep trying, they have my full support. If they hide after that, I don't like it. But from what I've seen up to now, every time they play on the field, they're responding really, really well and that's why I'm hoping and I'm sure they will do the same tomorrow.
 
on if he's concerned with the intensity of league and European games...
Well that's why we have a big squad and we can rotate the players. But physically, the games in Europe won't be any more demanding than the Premier League, that's for sure. If they have to do that every three days then it can be an issue, but that's why we have to try to adapt and choose the players that can perform in each game and have always in mind that we have to rotate some players to have the balance physically.
 
on whether he has interest in Konstantinos Tsimikas..
I'm sorry, we don't discuss any interest in any players that don't play for us. Sorry.
 
on Pablo Mari playing for the under-23s and Bellerin and Ceballos watching...
Well, I watched the game but I could not be there for a personal reason. But, I was very glad that those two were there to support him. When he joined the club he hadn't played for a long time and he had a little niggle as well well when he joined us, but his attitude and commitment has been really, really good and highly surprising. He did really well the other day and hopefully we can start to use him soon.
 
on the 3-0 win here in 2015 and if Arsenal is trying to deal with that inconsistency five years on...
Well, obviously the results in recent years show that. To compete with the top teams, the demands at the moment are so, so high. You have to win the league with over 100 points in the Premier League. That was unheard of before or in any other league, probably apart from maybe Spain. But this is where we are, that's the challenge. That's the consistency that we need to be looking after and that's the demand that we have to put to the players. To every day play with that mindset, with that urgency and always working on every detail that makes the difference.
 
on changing the scheduling for this trip and flying back on Friday...
We have two games in four days. It's a long flight, with two hours difference as well. We're going to play at 10pm local time and after that, if we had to take a flight, we would arrive to London really, really late. Apart from that, I believe that the first window - the first hour to hour and a half - is really important for the players to eat with the quality of nutrients that we need. I think it's better to do it in a hotel. I think it's better to rest in a bed, rather than stay in a flight when you are travelling and the next day, everybody does some recovery together and we fly back in the afternoon.
 
on whether he would have preferred an earlier kick-off...
Yes, but the time difference is what it is. We try to adapt the trip in the context that we have at the moment and we bear in mind that we want the players in the best possible condition after the game, to be able to recover as quickly as possible to play against Everton.
 
on if this game will be one where he rotates his lineup...
We've had a break of 15 days and we've played just one game. So tomorrow I'm going to put out a team that I think is the best to play. Then the rest of the games will take care of themselves. You cannot control that sometimes you are thinking about resting somebody and in training he gets a little issue or he gets sick. So tomorrow we are going to put out the team that we think is the best to play Olympiacos and the rest of the teams and games will follow.
 

 

 

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