Press conference

Arteta on... our north London derby defeat

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was encouraged by a lot of what he saw in Sunday's north London derby - but was ultimately left disappointed as we were beaten.

Our head coach faced the media after the game and discussed the defeat, our progress, defensive errors and more.
This is the full transcript:
on coming away from the game with nothing...
I am disappointed and frustrated and really sorry for the boys first, because the way they played today and the personality they showed today, to come into this ground and show who we are, to nullify the opponents and press them high, forcing them to kick the ball long and defend in a low block. That's exactly what we wanted to do. But obviously, if you give the two goals away that we have given against these players, it is very difficult to win a derby.

on his disappointment with the defending and needing to stop the mistakes...
It is mentally tough because in your mindset you are ahead, you are controlling the game and everything that we talked about is actually happening. Then you just give that moment away and mentally it affects the whole mood and the momentum and our energy. Still, we came back in the second half and we were even better, we were even more dominant still, with more control and we were really looking to score the second goal and just in one isolated action, we conceded the set-piece. We have to learn. In every game, something happens. A little margin here, a little margin there. I'm sure we will get there and I am proud because I have never seen them play like the way they have done today in this ground. That's really positive but I'm sorry for the fans because I know how much it means to all of them. We were very willing to give them a big moment of happiness and unfortunately, I am sorry but we could not do it.

on how much of a setback this is for our European ambitions...
Points wise it's a massive blow because we know the results this weekend. But we will keep trying while we have any hope. This is who we are at the moment and we will fight in two different ways - one is the league and the other is the FA Cup - to do our best to finish as strongly as possible.

on whether he still feels positive about the team's development...
Yes. If we minimise the mistakes that we do and we keep playing like that, we're going to win many, many, many football games. Because we're going to make it really difficult for the opponent. I'm sure of that. But these two aspects, one has to be maintained and the other one has to be avoided and it's on us. They believe in what we're doing. You can see how they are trying and how they are going. It's a shame because if you are able to win that well in such a big ground, on such a big stage as with today, it gives you big belief. I am gutted as well for them because they really tried.
on our attacking display…
We can do more, we can be incisive and we could exploit some spaces better than what we’ve done. Sometimes they read them and the urgency and the distances weren’t exactly there. In many times it was and the purpose was there, but to attack 10 players like this all the time is not an easy thing to do, and we tried and had enough chances to win the derby in the way we did today.
on Mourinho claiming that he’s made great progress…
Thank you, I can see what he’s trying to do as well and look, he wins again, you know. It’s two completely different styles and he manages really, really well. He has a really good team behind him and I said before in the press conference that I believe he always finds a way to win. When I give it to him I feel bad, but congratulations to them, they got the points today and we will move forwards.
on Tottenham scoring just two minutes after our opener…
The first goal in a big game, you know how important it is and the percentages of winning when you have that. Just giving it away like this after what it takes to break down a team like Spurs, it affects, but straight away we kept going, we kept trying and we started to dominate the last part of the first half, and in the second half we modified one or two things and started to attack them better, dominate them better and win the ball back really early. We had very few moments when we had to defend deep, but when we had more control and everything was looking like we were gaining more momentum and getting closer to winning the game, we conceded the goal.
on dropping the most points from winning positions in the league...
There’s been various things since I've joined that cost us games. I cannot just single out one of them but a few of the ones you have mentioned obviously are involved. Some come from errors, some is game management, some come from a set-piece, some from individual errors but look at the margin that we have. Fifteen points is a lot and that means that we are fighting and competing in every game, we are very close but the margin to win, lose or draw is sometimes small and at the moment we have to improve on that.

on conceding late goals...
Sometimes errors are led by fatigue. We have made some errors and there have been some moments where it wasn't about that, it was about paying attention at a short corner or not picking up your man from a corner, or just making an individual error or because the opponent does well in this league. It pushes you in the last 10 to 15 minutes and you have to suffer and sometimes you concede. We will look at that with more depth obviously but it is something where we have some margin to improve.

on Rob Holding not playing despite good performances...
Sometimes it's the position, sometimes it's the momentum of the players, when we don't concede in three or four games in a row everything is really positive. Obviously when you concede two goals like today... Why are we not playing someone else? Rob has done really well when we've demanded him to play and he will be ready to play when we demand him to do so I'm sure.

on Mesut Ozil...
He is still in the same positions he was last week or two weeks ago and we said we will manage everything internally. I have nothing to say.

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