Press conference

Arteta pre-Bournemouth: every single word

We're back in Premier League action on Boxing Day when Mikel Arteta takes charge of his first game as our head coach, against Bournemouth.

Arteta faced the media ahead of the match to discuss his first few days taking training, our performance against Everton and Freddie Ljungberg's future.

Scroll down for a full transcript of what he said:

on what he learned from watching from the stands...
I think that we have a really good team. There are a lot of things to improve but at least the two things that I demanded from them were done. They committed to something and they did it, so it was a good starting point. 

on what his priority is in training...
Yesterday's session was for the players who weren't involved in the game. We didn't do much with them but we used the time to start implementing some ideas that I want to bring to the team straight away, and some behaviours that are going to be important in helping us achieve what we want to do. Today was more about the principles, the style and the way I want the team to play. Overall, they have a little bit of a picture that I'm expecting them to have in different situations of the game. It was useful. 

on whether there's any new injury news...
No, no. 

on whether he saw a change in energy levels at Everton...
I did. We are much more committed, we have a different kind of aggression every time we lose the ball. I think the body language was much, much better than in the past few games. I think they played with more passion in this game. Obviously there were things to improve but those things have to be non-negotiable. Those things have to be on the table in every game, every training session and the way we're going to live together.

on whether he can give an update on Freddie Ljungberg's future...
I spoke to Freddie after the game. I told him my idea and the people I wanted to bring to form my coaching staff, their roles and responsibilities of each of them. I wanted to know what he was feeling, I wanted to know what he had in mind, what his expectations were. We talked and we made a decision that the best thing was for him to stay with us. I think he can be very available. I think he knows the players, he knows the situation, he knows the history of where we're coming from and also his knowledge of the game is going to really help us to be better.

on whether he knew Freddie before...
I knew him a little bit obviously, and we will start a new chapter now with new ideas, new ways of doing things. I got a really good impression. He's ready to help. He was very positive.

on Freddie saying he would have dropped Mesut Ozil for Everton...
I don't know, it's a question for him. I just wanted him to make the decision on the day to pick the best possible lineup to win against Everton. My job started straight after the game, so I had to pick the players up first of all mentally and then put them in the work frame that I want. With me, they have a clean slate. I told them that. You're not going to be judged on things you've done in the past, whether they are negative or positive. This is evolving every day and I'm expecting you to perform and be in the right mindset every single day for me. If you do that, you'll have a chance to play. If you don't, you won't.

on whether he'll be looking at our mentality against Bournemouth...
We will try to put the most competitive team against that team. We know how tricky that stadium is and how complicated they are going to make it for us but we have to be ready. We analyse opponents, we have to try to nullify them as much as possible, and make, as I said before, as predictable as possible for us so when our players jump in that pitch they know what they are facing.

on whether they've spoken about transfers yet...
We had many other conversations, there is so much going on in the last 48 hours. We have a meeting in place very soon, we have some ideas, but we have to pull them together.

on racism...
I think if it continues, obviously at some stage another kind of reaction will be needed. We have some protocols at the moment about how we have to behave towards it, but the message to drive it out, and to be strong with it, has to be even stronger than what happened yesterday.

on whether he's enjoyed being back at the club...
Absolutely! It's an incredible opportunity. There is so much work to do, and I just try to embrace everybody here at the training ground and explain what my idea is, what I want to try to do and I need them all on board. Everything we have been doing in the last few days, all the talks and meetings, is to get people to jump on board with the right energy, the right idea and we need them. We need them to help the players and transmit what we want to do. So far I'm very happy with what I've seen on that.

on what his priority is...
The priority, as I said before, is what we are going to transmit on the team, is a reflection of the demands we are going to put on them every day in training. That's commitment, accountability, aggression and passion to play this sport and to represent this football club. This is the basic  I am going to demand from them, and from there we can start to build things and improve all the things, obviously, that have to be done as quickly as possible, but if we don't have this in the right manner, I think it will be difficult

on how impressed he is with Eddie Howe...
Very much. He started at the age he started as well is a good reflection for me on what he's done. He comes across really well, I have met him many times and we have played against each other many times, so he is a coach that I like, that I look to, and that I value the work he's done. Because it's not easy at all to maintain that level for that many years.

on whether his match preparation will be similar to Pep Guardiola's...
Yes.

on how much he thinks he did at Manchester City as an assistant...
I helped as much as I could. To put that into figures is not something I would like to do, but I gave everything I had to try to improve the club, the organisation and the players and to create the right environment and give the solutions to the players to feel more secure to know exactly what I wanted to do. To give guidance, to give help to Pep, avoiding as many problems as I could, jumping into his door. That was one of the biggest challenges as well and to enjoy the profession.

on whether our players are told how to behave if they encounter racism...
Yes, I was discussing that. Right now, there's a protocol in place that has to be guided. I think every context and every situation is different, so it's difficult to react because emotionally a player can react in many different ways to the same situation but yes, we have to be ruthless with this as well and we have to take that out of the game.

 

 

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