Press conference

Arteta on... Partey, Gabriel and belief


Not many managers go to Old Trafford and win.

In fact, Mikel Arteta is only the second Arsenal boss to have won his first two games against Manchester United, after Herbert Chapman.

So the Spaniard was understandably proud when he faced the media after Sunday's Premier League win. Here's what he said in his virtual press conference:

on the key factors behind our win…
First of all, the belief that we created before the game. We wanted to come here and be who we are and be that from the first minute. I think obviously if you look at the performance, every player needed to be at their best and they were. They asked a lot of questions with the way we played, so I’m really, really happy with the performance.

on Thomas Partey…
He was really good, but I don’t like to speak on individuals because they all contributed a lot. It was really hard to pick the team and it’s getting harder and harder, but I am glad that whoever I pick, they’re ready to give absolutely everything and play with a lot of courage. This is a massive factor for me because we played with no fear and believed in our style of play.

on going 24 away games winless against the top six…
Yes, obviously there are many factors for that and obviously it’s not a coincidence, so we have to change that dramatically and very quickly if we want to be fighting with the big teams. Because if we don’t, we aren’t going to have that consistency that’s required at the top level, so it’s big belief for the players as well. To be fair, this season we went to Anfield and we played them face to face, then we went to the Etihad and we didn’t accept to lose the game, then we came here and did the same, except this time we won.

on Aubameyang’s confidence to take the penalty…
He probably had added pressure because he know how crucial it was for us to win today and how important that moment was, but I think he took it really well and I’m really happy for him because he might not have been scoring, but he’s working really hard and contributing to the team. He’s doing every other thing and today he got his reward.

on how much this result means to him…
Well, obviously I demand a lot from myself and I was really tough after the defeat against Leicester because I didn’t feel like the boys deserved that defeat, especially after the game we played at the Etihad. I didn’t want them to doubt one bit of what we are trying to do and I just asked them today, go out there, be who we are and that we’ve come here to win. You could see that from the first minute with the way we played and our aggression showed. I’m really happy for them and obviously our fans as well because 14 years is a long time without a win and they’re one of our rivals, so I’m delighted for everyone.

on whether he expected Gabriel and Partey to look so good so good…
Well, no, because I know how tough this league is and you cannot compare it to any other league in the world, but we try to pick certain characteristics in the profile of players that we want to find for our club, and I want to minimise the risk by looking and looking and making sure that they can contribute to what we’re trying to do.

on whether his gameplan went exactly to plan...
Not everything but a lot of things happened. It's really tricky because they can change formation, they protect their players a lot in this diamond. You want to really aggressive and press them high, but the players they have only need a split second and they are through. It's who we are and we did that really well. We didn't have the legs to do that for the whole game so we had to defend in a deeper block, but we did that in a really well-structured and organised way.

on whether he was nervous at the end...
Absolutely, yes. In the last few minutes they throw everything at you and have some big, physical players with a lot of quality. Anything can happen. But we defended really well.

on how important this result can be...
We are creating expectations as well because we beat United and then we beat Chelsea, and then we beat Man City, then Liverpool in the cup. We want to build them all the time. These teams are in a different moment in the process than us. We want to compete in the league with them all the time. We will evolve in other things and we will get better, but we need to generate the belief that we can go to any ground and be competitive. It's something that we've got already, in my opinion.

on what this win can do internally for players' belief...
It generates the belief and it binds everyone together. Everyone's going to feel really part of it because players who haven't played so many minutes in the Premier League until recently will be involved. Everybody has to be ready and if we want to perform at that level, we're going to have to use this squad. The fixtures are crazy at the moment and the physical demands are huge. Everybody has to be contributing and focused on what they are bringing to the team. That's the question you have to ask of yourself. It's not just on the pitch, it's off it as well and in training. We're looking at what you can bring to the team, how you can help and how you are contributing. I'm really happy with the team.

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