Press conference

Arteta press conference: every single word

Mikel Arteta has held his first press conference as our head coach.

The new man in charge spent much of Friday at London Colney, where he met and spoke with players and staff before sitting down for his first interview.
 
After that, Mikel headed to Emirates Stadium to field questions from the media.
 
Here's a full transcript of the press conference:
 
on what it means to be back at Arsenal...
I’ve been back home. I’m extremely happy and proud to have been given the opportunity to be the manager of this football club. I've been preparing for a few years for this challenge to come. I know the expectations, I know the level and I know the stature of this club, and what it deserves. So I'm ready for that challenge, I can't wait to start working with the players, and everybody here at the club. But I've got a good vibe, I'm sensing a good energy since I walked in at London Colney, so it's giving me more energy and I feel so happy.
 
on how it felt walking back into the stadium and the training ground...
Yeah. It was strange. It's been four or five years ago in a different role and a different position, but it was always a dream for me on the day I left, and I made a decision to leave this football club, I said to the people that I am going outside, I'm going to learn, I am going to get prepared and hopefully one day I can come back here when I feel that I am ready to make that step. I have so much respect for this football club that if I didn't feel that I am ready, I am prepared for this, then I wouldn't be sitting in this chair.

on what he wants to change...
The first thing is a little bit to change the energy. Last week I was here with Manchester City and I was a little bit down after the game when I felt what was going on. So we have to try to engage everybody, I have to try and convince the players about what I want to do, how I want to do it, they have to start accepting a different process, a different way of thinking, and I want to get all the staff and everybody at the club with the same mindset. We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest. If you don't have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live, and if you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms and in this way. And after that, we can talk about other things. Obviously now we need an immediate impact, we need to start winning games, we need to start to raise the level of confidence of the players, and finally we need the fans. We need to engage them, we need to be able to transmit with our behaviours, our intentions, what we want to bring to this football club. I think that's the only way, where we give them a little bit, they give us a little bit, and suddenly we feel that connection, because when plug plug these two things together, it is so powerful. I've been outside this football club and when you're outside you look at it and you say 'wow, this is massive'. So this is how I'm feeling. There is so much to do, I am so excited, and I think we have the right team, I have many conversations with the senior people at the club, and I feel we're on the same path. So I have a good feeling.

on whether the club has lost its way...
That's what I'm sensing from the outside. I would like to start to make some steps and start to understand the reasons why. There will be reasons behind it, and a history behind it, and I have to try to understand quickly why this is, to implement certain things that will be quick wins, for the players, the staff and everybody. That is the challenge now. We don't have much time to train, much time to talk about other things, because there are some important games coming up. We have to create the right vibe, the right energy, and everybody at the organisation has to feel so privileged to be here. There's no other way.

on what he's learned from Pep Guardiola...
Advice? What I've learned mostly is that you have to be ruthless and you have to be consistent and you have to fit every day the culture of the club to create a winning mentality. To sustain it is even harder, so every day is important, every act is important, every organisation is important. His work-rate is incredible, how inspirational he is to people is incredible. But for me, the secret is that the people, the players and the staff, have to believe what they're trying to deliver. You have to be able to transmit it, and people will buy into that. When you do that, then you are a team and everybody's together and united you're stronger.

on concerns over his lack of experience...
I completely understand their concern. That's the only thing I can say but I will try to convince them that I'm prepared, that I wouldn't be sitting here if I honestly didn't think I'm prepared to take this responsibility. I will burn every drop of blood for this football club to make it better.

on how close he came to getting the job 18 months ago...
A little bit close. It wasn't the right time. When things don't happen it's because it isn't the right time. The right time came now and I'm glad. I learned a lot from that experience as well. It was great to be part of a process of that nature and I was very prepared for this one. I think it helped. I think it was a very positive thing to happen.

on what Arsenal means to him...
When I was playing in England, I started to realise what Arsenal meant. Obviously I was born in Barcelona and the club that had the most similar style and most similar values and ambition was Arsenal. So I always talked to the people around me and said that I had a dream and that was to play for this football club. There was one man, his name is Arsène Wenger, that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to play for this club. After that, he made me captain of this football club and I wouldn't be sitting here if he didn't have the vision to give me the opportunity to enjoy this incredible club.

on what's been going wrong at Arsenal in last 18 months...
I have my ideas that I would like to keep to myself because I have to corroborate them when I see them act, when I see them behave, when I see them live together. I want to do things my way but by convincing them that's it's the right way for everybody to live better. Everybody has to respect each other first of all, and I want people who are accountable for what I'm asking for them to do. I don't want them hiding, I want people to take responsibility for their jobs and I want people who deliver passion and energy in the football club. Anyone who doesn't buy into this, or that has a negative effect or whatever, is not good enough for this environment or this culture. There are things to change, absolutely, because they're not performing at the level that we expect them to. I will have to help them and to help them I need to know what's happening, I need to understand how they're feeling, what they're lacking. If I get to reach that point, then I can help them. Then they will trust me and then they will follow me.

on being the youngest manager in the Premier League...
Time will tell. To talk about experience, experience in my job... My job has a lot of roles and responsibilities. Some of them I was doing in my previous job, some others I was not. Most of them are linked and there are things that either you do have or you don't have. The experience bit I can't touch, it's completely against me. The good thing is that I feel young. When I was playing at 34, I was always the oldest and now as a manager, I'm the youngest. It has a lot of positive things as well on that. I know it's one of these things where I have to adapt to the job. I have a lot of good people around me to support me and we will try our best.

on Mesut Ozil...
He's a massive player for this football club. As I said before, what I want is to understand how they are feeling and what they need. It's not so much about what I need. You have to understand them. Sometimes with conversation, you get to understand a point. When you understand them, I can take the excuses out of them and focus on the things that are relevant and have an impact on the team on and off the pitch. Of course he's a massive player. I work with him and I know when he clicks, what he can bring to the team. It's my job to get the best out of him, of course.

on possible January transfers...
We haven't discussed the transfer windows and obviously there are a lot of conversations to have around that. I'm only concerned about trying to win football games right now and finding a way to improve little things that bring them confidence. To step on that football pitch and improve what they've been doing.

on what Arsenal can achieve this season...
I think to set targets at the moment is not what I would like to do. I would like to take it day by day. We have a lot of things to do but what is clear is that the ambitions of this football club are very clear. You have to be in Europe, you have to fight for trophies and the rest is not good enough. It's as simple as this. To talk about this now is a little bit far [away]. I would like to talk about what we're going to be doing tomorrow in the game, lifting the morale of thee team and then Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday we'll be working together for the game again.

on Freddie Ljungberg's role going forward...
It's a conversation I was having this morning when we addressed the players and spoke to them. I had a conversation with him afterwards to see his expectations and how I see the situation. We will know something soon. I haven't had a chance to speak to him.

on what Guardiola's reaction was when he left City...
Listen, the relationship between me and Pep is incredibly good. Obviously he was sad and the timing wasn't the best for him but he understood. He knows how I've been growing and the needs that I have emotionally, the ambitions that I had, and he kept giving me more and more and more over the years. If I had admiration for him before, after working with him I cannot explain how much of a nice person he is and what a professional he is. The way he reacted with me looking at my eyes, he knew that I was suffering because I was leaving in a moment where they need me a little bit as well, so I felt in that sense a little bit sad. But he's been so supportive, the same as Txiki, as Ferran and Khaldoon - I was on the phone with him yesterday. The terms that we left the relationship in, they could not be any better. I said goodbye to all the staff at the training ground yesterday, all the players, I cried because they've been my family for three and a half years and we've had incredible moments. We had a dream to do something in England with Pep that people said was impossible to do because we would get bullied in the Premier League, and we did it in a way we believed we could do it. That's so fulfilling and we will share that feeling for the rest of our lives, the moment that we lived together.

on why this was the right time to become a head coach...
Because sometimes in this industry you can have a plan, an idea or a way to develop the best possible way. Then the emotions get involved. When Arsenal knocks on any door, it's difficult to say no. When it knocks on my door, this is my house and it makes it very difficult. It was a very difficult decision, it's true, but also I felt that the club needed someone to appoint. I saw that and they transmitted that. They were so convinced that they wanted to go with me, that I had to take the challenge.

on how soon his coaching team will be announced...
That's not in my hands. It's the lawyers and the paperwork. I would like to do that as quickly as possible but to be fair, the timescale has been hectic. I had a game with City so there were a lot of things that had to be done. It will be announced very, very shortly.

on which capacity Ljungberg will stay on in...
Like I said before, I need to sit down and have a proper conversation. I didn't believe that today was the day, just before travelling to speak to Freddie for 10 minutes because I might need to speak with him for eight hours to really understand the situation, his aims, what he's seen from the players. I need to understand the history of what's happened in the last 18 months at the club. We will sit down, grab a coffee or a bowl of coffee, then we will make the decision.

on whether they've spoken about the plans for the Everton game...
No, I just said, 'You know them, you've been training with them, do what you feel is right'. I told them a little bit what I wanted from them and that's it.

 

 

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