Press conference

Arteta on the season, the fans and the summer

Mikel Arteta was in front of the media on Friday morning for the final time in the 2020/21 season.

Our manager discussed how he looks back on the campaign as a whole, Joe Willock, qualifying for Europe and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on how he sums up the season…
Well if you are saying it’s a step back because we haven’t won a title, then it has to be related. In the league we have two more points than last season, but it’s nowhere near where we want to be. The fact that we don’t have a title so close to grab because we’re not in the Europa League final makes it difficult to see more positives but we were knocked out in the last-16 of the Europa League last season and a lot of things have been done that were very necessary in this season that are not related to results. But at the end of the day, we are here to win.

on whether we can now draw a line under the takeover talk…
I really hope so because it has been very clear where the owners are standing. I think I have given my view on the situation. Just for the benefit of the club, which is the only interest really of everyone who supports the club, the aim is to get the unity and togetherness that we need to be back where we want. That’s all.

on Joe Willock and whether he will come back next season…
Yes, I am really happy that things have gone so well because of the potential that he has. I think it was great for him to go away and have a different experience, he has grabbed that opportunity in a really positive and remarkable way and he will come back to us, we will have a conversation with him and plan the next years for him.

on what reception he expects from the fans…
That they haven’t been at the stadium for a long time, we haven’t managed to be together so hopefully it will be a positive atmosphere to support the team and the team trying to give them some joy and win the game.

on wanting to win and finish above Tottenham…
Anything that is in our hands to make them happy and to help us to be in a better place today, it’s all positive.

on being second for form over the last 23 Premier League games…
Yes, it is very good but the league is played over 38 games. But at least it shows that we are able to do it and when we have a little bit more of a normal context, more normal situations, I am very positive about what we can do, but at the end of the day wee are judged on what we have done over the whole season and it is not, for sure, where we want to be.

on whether the period in November has cost us...
Yes, there's a lot of things from September to December that are contributing to that. I don't believe it was just one issue. There were a lot of things in that period

on whether he's eliminated those issues now...
This is my job. To identify, to be very critical with myself first and then try to analyse and find out why things happened. Whether that's negative or positive. If it's positive, let's keep doing a lot of the good things that we are doing.

on whether Willock will definitely be an Arsenal player next season...
For sure because he's got a contract and that's going to be here. That's for sure.

on Willock adding value to his price tag...
And he got the responsibility and the test of going to Newcastle to help them get where they want to. I spoke with the coaching staff there and they are extremely happy because he was a key part of contributing to get the objectives that they had. That's a real positive for him.

on Hector Bellerin's future...
Hector is not fit [for Sunday] so he will not be playing the last time. Like everybody that has a contract, he remains here.

on Sergio Aguero's final game for Manchester City...
It was an absolute joy to work with him. His character, his personality, he's a loveable man and then one of the best talents that I've seen. What he's done in this league for so long, scoring the amount of goals that he's done... I think he was a player that contributed to change the perception of English football in different countries. What he's done for Manchester City, I think he was a big contributor of changing the history, the mentality and the winning years that they had after that.

on the Europa Conference League...
It's a new competition so I don't really know what will happen. First of all, let's try to finish as high as possible and then after we will determine, once we are involved, what the best way is to do it.

on the ECL being looked down on by some critics...
We have experienced in the last few years how tough being in the Europa League is with the amount of games you play and the short turnaround that you have all the time in the Premier League. I think there is a lot of history there with teams that have been involved in the Europa League, and the negative consequences that has in the Premier League positions. But we've tried to give it the best possible go, we came a little bit short, but this club has to be in Europe.

on whether Sunday's team selection is difficult due to the possibility of wanting to say goodbye to some players...
The selection is just the best possible selection to win the game. What is going to happen afterwards is part of the future and what we have to try to control is what happens on the day.

on whether he will have difficult conversations with some players...
Well, we have a lot of conversations that have already happened and some more that will happen. Difficult or not, we have to face them to be able to tell each other what our feelings are and to make the right decisions.

on whether finishing 7th, 8th or 9th is good enough...
No.

on whether he views the season as one of underachievement...
It's not where we want to be.

on whether he's planning to spend some time away with his family after the season or if he'll be at home watching the Euros...
You have to find the balance. There is a lot of work to do, a lot of reflection to do and a lot of decisions to be made. It will take time to do that. But at the same time as well, you have to disconnect. It's been almost two years with no break and they [our families] deserve some time with us and I think our bodies and minds need a rest to be more efficient and have more clarity in our vision.

on which flag will be flying in the Arteta house for the Euros - the English or the Spanish flag...
I would have both! And as well, I'll be supporting a lot of the players that we have, who will be representing their countries and we want the best for them. 

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Friendly Match
Ticket Info

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

ACADEMY

 

Fixtures

Friendly Match
Ticket Info
Friendly Match
Ticket Info

Results

Premier League
Premier League