Press conference

Arteta on... Olympiacos, Aubameyang, Saka and more

Mikel Arteta faced the media on Wednesday ahead of our Europa League last-16 second leg against Olympiacos.

Our manager discussed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard, the Greek side and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the latest team news…
Everyone is more or less okay. We have a few doubts but hopefully everyone will be involved in the squad.

on a chance to give some players minutes…
It’s a good time for everybody, it is a really important game for us, nothing has been decided - there is still another 90 minutes at least to play for and we know it is going to be tough and everyone has to be ready. We have the opportunity to make changes, we have five substitutions so we will decide the best team to try to beat them.

on why Martinelli hasn’t been playing…
No, if anything its my faulty, he has done everything perfect, he trains incredibly well every day, his attitude cannot be any better , he is disappointed he is not playing more obviously and I have spoken to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient. He had some minutes, he had some games as well and its true the competition for the front positions is very tough but he needs to be patient and he will get his chance.

on the latest with Aubameyang…
We talked, everything has been resolved in a really positive way so we move forward.

on whether its a given he will come back into the team…
No, everybody has to obviously perform at the highest level to earn their place in the team, there is no exception there and we will try to put a really competitive team out tomorrow to try too win again.

on whether he considered stripping Auba of the captaincy…
It was dealt with on the day, its been resolved in a really positive way and we move on.

on whether Emile Smith Rowe may be somebody we rest...
It's true that we have some players with some significant loads there, but our priority now is to win these next two games and then whatever happens with international duty. If anything, they will have to adapt to what we want. We're not going to do it the opposite way around because we are the ones that have to look after our players here every day. But at the end, we're the ones who pay our players so if anybody has to adapt, that's the national teams and not us.

on what the latest is on Bukayo Saka's availability...
He was doing another test and obviously he felt something muscular. But he's been much, much better and they've both been really well. So we'll make the decision this afternoon on what we'll do.

on Emile and Martin playing well together rather than keeping each other out of the team...
The plan was to have more options and to start to create relationships with players that, in our opinion, could play together. We work together as a club to try to identify those talents, good players and intelligent players that can always play together. We have to find the right structure for them to maximise their potential and this is what we are trying to do and we will try to do that even more with some of the players that we have with the same qualities.

on whether he thought Martin would be able to adapt so quickly...
That was our feeling. But you never know. You have to see him in action, you have to see his character a little bit closer, on a daily basis. I think everybody has been really impressed with how quickly he has adapted. Professionally, how he is and how willing he has been since day one to try to engage with everybody at Colney and then also with the performances that he's putting in as well.

on what he thinks of Martin's overall development since January...
He is getting better and better. I think his understanding of what we want is excellent. His work rate has been phenomenal and then he's doing something that, in my opinion, could improve a lot which is getting in the opponents' box and maybe being more decisive in the scoreline. He is doing that with the two goals and he's had some really important entries into the zones and he looks all the time really dangerous. If he adds that to his game, he becomes a real complete player.

on his appointment as captain of Norway...
I'm not surprised after sharing some time with him now. I'm not surprised at all. He's got this personality, he's a really humble and easygoing guy but at the same time, he's very, very professional and very dedicated. He leads by example, which normally a captain should do.

on if Odegaard can benefit from being given extra responsibility...
I don't know. That's a question for him. I just can just answer to what I've seen so far. I don't know him for five years. I don't know how he reacts in many other scenarios but if I have to give an opinion right now, then it's that he is more than prepared to take that role [of Norway captain]. I've been very positive and impressed with his human qualities as well.

on if the tie is over...
Absolutely not. From what I've seen from Olympiacos and the amount of games that they have won in the final minutes and the belief that they have in that team, it will be tough and they will try to put us under real pressure. There is still a lot to play for.

on preparing to face Youssef El-Arabi...
It's true that he's scored two goals and created some chances as well. He's a really clever striker that finds [space] really well in the opponents' box. His movement is very intelligent and we will have to be careful with him tomorrow again.

on Mohamed Elneny...
Well, [that goal] was really important for the team because it puts the draw in a much better place for us so it was a crucial goal. I'm extremely happy with him because he works really really hard every day, he's been practising in training with Roundy quite a lot, his range shots. He totally deserved it. When you practise, at the end you get rewards and I'm happy that Mo did that.

on if he'll ask him to go forward more after his goal...
If he's adding all these qualities to his game then that's great. He needs to stick to what he's really good at and if he can add something extra to the team then that's always welcome.

on in Aubameyang will play tomorrow...
I cannot tell you that, no. 

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