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Arteta on responsibility, motivation, ESR and more

Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Friday morning, just hours after our European exit at the hands of Villarreal.

Our manager discussed the pain and responsibility he feels, what he wants from his players before the end of the season, Emile Smith Rowe, and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on keeping the players motivated now...
Well, first of all you have to go through the pain that caused last night’s disappointment. After that, we have a responsibility and we have to be professional. We know that we have four games to play, which still have things to define, and the best way to do that is on Sunday go out there and show how much we care, how painful that and win the football match.

on how much the players feel that responsibility...
They do feel the pain when you look at the state of that dressing room. It was sad because they put so much into it. They tried to go through every obstacle that we had in the competition and around. This is a results based sport and an inch can define success or failure, and it happened. If that ball goes in from Auba yesterday - or the other two big chances that we had - we are talking about something different. But unfortunately you are not. And with the same context, with the same conditions, with the same game, but a different result. This is what we have to accept, because unfortunately that’s the beauty, and as well the difficulties, of this sport.

on the concerns of the fans at being out of Europe...
I understand those concerns because when you are out of the Champions League for five years it is not just a casualty, it’s a trend. There are facts to support that trend and as well defined years how it was achieved the Champions League as well. So, there are things to change, that’s for sure because you no one is going to accept that at this football club. I am not going to accept that and the fans are not going to accept that. So we all have to push together to achieve something very different.

on why the trend is going as it is...
They are things to analyse more internally, I am sorry. We have done that. There are things that we cannot discuss here. I take full responsibility for my part, for sure, since I arrived here what I have tried to do, giving my life, my best ability, investing every drop of energy that I have emotionally to support everything that has been going around with my knowledge, with staff, with all the players that are trying to contribute with all the club to give our best. But so far it has not been enough and this when the question mark comes, why it is not enough? Is it just a thing? Is it the manger? Is it many other stuff? What is it? And then this is football. Again, I repeat myself, last night that ball goes in we win 1-0. You are in the final and it is a different world. But today that world doesn’t look very nice.

on getting his ideas over to this group of players...
It takes time and it takes a lot of specificity in what you want. I said many times, we are not there, we are not able to execute it consistently enough throughout games or consistent enough in consecutive games. That comes with practice, that comes with recruitment, that comes with changing some mentality, a lot of things that have to be in place. As well the level in the league has excelled to a level that didn't exist in the past. They have done so well with time and resources and obviously with a lot of clever people making big decisions.

on whether he questions himself...
What I felt last night was a deep pain because the moment the club is in at the moment, with everything it has been through over the last months, I had a feeling that if we could take the team to the final, it could be a great turning point. I felt that responsibility and I was so eager to achieve that because I knew it could be a defining moment. Not being able to achieve it, has been really tough personally obviously. I know that we have disappointed a lot of people as well, and that really hurts because we want to give the best to everybody but one thing I made clear is that to do what we want to do, I have no doubts that we are going to achieve it. If not, I wouldn't be sat here.

on whether the team can harness the pain they feel...
We have no time because we have a game on Sunday, we have a training session this morning and it has to be by today when you leave the training ground, most of it has to be out of the system. I think you have to leave some of it in some of your system, and use some of it in the right way as an energy driver in the game on Sunday.

on Emile Smith Rowe taking responsibility...
He took responsibility in the second half, he really tried. He had a big chance to score and I think he was feeling responsible, which is a good reaction from him but we have to bear in mind that those players have never played a game like that, it was their first experience and they have to go through that - and they will learn.

on Smith Rowe's bravery on the ball...
Yes, because if you don't have this quality you can't play at the highest level. It doesn't matter how old you are, it has to be in your system and part of you that you want to be able to take the ball anywhere, under any conditions and any kind of pressure.

on the young players offering hope for the future...
It gives me a lot of confidence because they have shown what they can do. It's true that playing in a semi-final at this level is a different story, but as well they need the right surroundings around them to grow, without putting too much pressure on them.

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