Press conference

Arteta on Smith Rowe, Watford, team news and more

Mikel Arteta held another Zoom call with the media on Friday as he previewed Sunday's game against Watford.

Our manager discussed Emile Smith Rowe, the latest team news, reaching 100 games in charge and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on what he wants from his squad…
What I am demanding is that we keep improving and get good performances that will lead to good results, and that we maintain the same unity and togetherness around the squad and we are able to transmit that in games and every day in training. If we do that, we will keep getting better.

on our good record against Watford...
Every game is different, they have a. New manager, a team that needs wins - as we do - and in this league any team can cause you problems, can beat you, and you always have to be aware of that.

on Watford's form this season...
They had an incredible run last year and to do what they did, and now they have changed the manager, it is always difficult in this league for any team so imagine coming from the Championship is even harder. But it is a team that has been for many year in the league, they are our neighbours next to us and they are tough to beat.

on Kieran Tierney and Granit Xhaka's fitness...
Kieran has been training the last two days, he is feeling much better so hopefully he will be available.

on if Tierney will play for Scotland next week...
Let's see in the next two training sessions how he's feeling, he has done bits with the team but he's not fully trained yet, so in the next two days we will see how he is and where his fitness is.

on the competition between Tierney and Tavares...
Hopefully we can have more of those dilemmas, so we have top players performing at the top level in many positions because that only raises the quality, the standards and the performances of the team.

on Aaron Ramsdale and whether he should be England's No 1...
I am really happy for him to see him back there [in the squad] and the rest is a decision that Gareth and the coaching team has to take. What Aaron has to do is keep performing at that level and be humble. Other decisions are done by someone else.

on Smith Rowe and White not being in the England squad...
Again Gareth has to make so many difficult decisions, he has so many choices. What I like is that our players are performing at a level that I am sure they are giving problems in selection to Gareth and the coaching staff, and that is what pleases me because I know they have the level to do it and it will be about the timing when the manager decides it is the right moment to select them.

on summing up his 100 games in charge...
An incredible and big journey! A lot has happened, not only at the football club but around the world. That obviously has had a huge impact in everything that we have lived in the last two years. But I am so privileged to be where I am and I am really enjoying the opportunity and the challenge that we have ahead.

on whether he feels things are coming together now...
Yes, but this is about momentum and trying to pick it up and settle those foundations that we want, to give us performances and results, but also to build a sense of unity that is building around the club, with our people, with our players and the way we are playing and transmitting and for me, this is just as important.

on Antonio Conte's arrival and whether Arsenal fans will be worried...
Well first of all I would like to send a message to Nuno and his coaching staff, because it is always tough to see a colleague leave the job and Nuno has done extremely well in this country and has proven to be a top, top manager. They made a decision to bring in somebody else, we know that he has a really successful past in the last two jobs and we will see how he does here.

on Eddie Howe potentially taking over at Newcastle...
I don't know, until anything is announced I can't really have an opinion on it.

on the calibre of managers in the Premier League...
It is [incredible], yes. When you think there are many, many more who are at the top, world-leading managers but I think that is incredible positive for our league because it raises the level as it brings new ideas, the competition will be even harder but as well we have to bear in mind that we have some really good examples in Neil Warnock, with David [Moyes] and what they have done in the game. For example, Neil beating the record in terms of the longest-serving games and the history of David doing 1,000 games and we cannot lose [sight of] that because it is related to the history of this league and they have done so much in this league for us as well.

on whether it will be harder to get top four now Conte has arrived...
I think it will be for any team, to be fighting for the top positions. There are so many games to go, a lot will happen. You see results and performances, and how games vary from one half to another, with moments in the game, that tells you the quality that is here in terms of players and managers.

on how Emile is feeling about not being in the England squad...
I think he should be happy if people are gutted [about him not being selected] or people are questioning any decision, because that tells you the level that he’s playing at. Like anything that has happened in Emile’s career, it will come when it’s the right moment, because we don’t know if now is the right moment. Gareth knows much better than us to judge what he thinks about the role that he could have in that team, and if he’s decided that it’s not the right moment, I’m sure it was a very thoughtful process and the right decision.

on how he’s changed from his first game as a manager...
I think we all update any year like any computer! With everything that has happened to us, even more so. I am different, I see things differently, you evolve in certain ways, you learn a lot of things. We keep evolving.

on whether he could reach one thousand games like David Moyes and others...
I am nowhere near, I would like to have their recipe to see how they’ve done it to stay in the game for so long. I know David, the enjoyment and the passion that he still has for the game, because I worked with him. To have experience in something doesn’t mean that you’ve experienced all things that could happen in that journey, but for sure there have been some necessary things that have happened, some challenges and others beautiful to go through, but as I said, I’m really enjoying the moment and the opportunity that I have ahead of me.

on Barcelona still being without a manager and what that means for the Premier League compared to LaLiga...
I don’t know, they’re just different. You see the Spanish clubs, the results that they had in the last few seasons it’s remarkable. I’m really happy to be where I am, enjoying this incredible league, the setup, the atmosphere, the passion and everybody being back to normality. This is probably the most competitive season that the Premier League has ever had. 

on whether the top four is a possibility...
I don’t know how difficult it’s going to be, we have the aim to win every single match and we have to only have that mentality. To try be better today, to be more prepared for the Watford game and go there with the right mentality, ambition and determination to win it and move onto the next one, but we have to go game by game, in this league you cannot try to project something, it is impossible and I wouldn’t recommend it.

on Aaron Ramsdale’s save against Leicester…
It was sensational. But I liked the most was the reaction from the other teammates getting back, and Thomas clearing the ball of the line. Because if (Ramsdale) makes that save, but they end up putting the ball into the net, it wouldn’t stand for anything. So it’s not about a player, it’s about the team, and everybody’s involved in that. I’m happy because we prevented a big moment in the game.

on Nuno Espirito Santo, and whether managers deserve more time to turn results around…
Yes I don’t know, to make a judgement on why decisions are made - if it depends only because of a result, or if it’s performances, or if it’s something else - it’s very difficult. I’ve said many times that I’m grateful and privildged to work with people that I work with at the club, and that we have a clear idea of what we want to do. But again, like any manager at the end you need results.

on Claudio Ranieri, and whether he thinks he could still be managing at 70…
I need that recipe! How they have done it. As well it’s very interesting to understand what happened in their families - because I think they would have to have outstanding wives, kids and family around them to be able to do that for such a long time. But for (David Moyes) I am extremely happy for him, because I know him and I admire him personally. It’s great I think for British football to have these managers.

on Sambi stepping into Granit’s role…
Yes Sambi has shown a really quick adaptation. A lot of intelligence in his game, and courage. He is a player that is constantly trying to affect the game in the right way. It was a big task to ask him to play the amount of minutes he’s played already in the league, in such a short time. But he’s showing that he’s capable of doing it, and he’s handling the situation really really impressively.

on whether there’s a benefit to some players not being called up for international duty…
I don’t know. I think our objective should be to prepare the players with the right mindset to have the biggest ambitions. They should have the biggest ambitions, and that’s probably why they are performing the way that they are performing… and it will come. They have to respect those decisions, and not let it end in disappointment because this is a long run. If not it was going to affect them negatively in their performances, in their mindset state - and that’s not what we want. We want completely the opposite.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

ACADEMY

 

Fixtures

Premier League
Ticket Info
Premier League
Ticket Info

Results

Premier League
Carabao Cup