Press conference

Arteta on Southampton, Ozil, Torreira and more

Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Tuesday ahead of our Premier League clash against Southampton.

Our manager discussed dealing with the pressure, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and more.
 
This is what he said:
 
on using the hurt from Burnley to motivate the team…
Yes, but the motivation is that… after the results we have had in the last weeks, I’ve seen the desire and attitude that the players show in every game regardless of the result, and I am expecting exactly the same on Wednesday just with a different outcome and winning that football match.
 
on how he rectifies the small details that need to change…
Trying to practice more, being more accurate and building that confidence. But in order to do that,  you have to score. It’s not the same in training as in a game, you need to get rid of that block and then things will flow better.
 
on Southampton being tricky opponents right now…
Every opponent is going to be really difficult in the Premier League. We know they are in a really good moment, they are building something over time and you see the results and the progression the team has had - last year they had some difficulties for a period, they came through that and look really strong and they are a very dangerous team.
 
on Southampton proving that it takes time for a manager to put his imprint on a club…
It does take time but as well, but as well it is important to see the history of the club, where they have been and the issues that they have been through. I don’t like to compare it with any other club because I don’t know what happened here. We all knew when I took the job here that it wasn’t a quick fix at all, there were too many things that needed to be resolved, too many big decisions to make, a lot of changes that are happening and this takes time. Are we pleased with the results? Absolutely not, I am the first one who is angry and frustrated because I think as well that we deserve much more than we have at the moment but it is our own fault and we need to look to the future, and know as well that the present is also really, really important at the moment.
 
on Southampton’s strengths…
They’re a really high pressing team, they are really aggressive, a really committed team. They make it hard for you to build a game up, they are really good on the counter press, the moment you regain the ball they have some really quick and fast players and the link up play in the final third is really good. They are a team that is very much alive and you can see that the manager transmits that passion from the bench and everyone is aggressive and they all go, they are scoring goals and we need to be aware of that.
 
on whether the players are united and behind him…
My feeling is yes, but this is a question for them. When I see the reaction and the way they try, there is not one but that worries me that they are not trying their best, that is for sure. In terms of Edu and Pep, they obviously showed their appreciation because in good moments it is very easy, in difficult moments when you have people like them showing there support - and probably two people who know very, very well what I have been through here - it is very much appreciated.
 
on whether he thinks we are in a relegation battle...
I would say that we are in a blip and the way we are losing football matches makes me believe that. But we need to start to win, because if not, you start dropping and dropping in the table and obviously that is not the situation that we want to be in.
 
on whether he has concerns over his team's discipline and what he can do...
Well, we've had six red cards since I joined and only two have been discipline: Pepe and Granit. The rest, there have been two late tackles. One with Eddie against Leicester and the one against Palace, which was Auba. And then the other ones, there were two actions when a player was going through on goal and the defender is trying to prevent a goal. So they are not six disciplinary red cards. There have been two and those two have been dealt with.
 
on how much the situation hurts him and the players...
Me personally, I think more than anybody because I am the closest here and I feel more responsible than anybody else about the situation and obviously because it's not what I want. Everything that we can say, at the end of the day we have to show it on the pitch and get the results. What I would like to tell the fans is that we are trying and fighting to put this right. It's the least that we can do. We know that it is not good enough and we are doing everything we can to change it.
 
on whether he looks in the mirror and questions himself...
Every single day.
 
on how he questions himself...
I question everything. I review everything. I look at everything we do and how can we do it better, how can we change, how can we help the players more. Every single day. It's a big part of the job that when things are not going well and you're not getting results and when things are not going well but you are getting results, or the opposite way around too.
 
on whether he is 100 per cent confident that he can turn it around...
Yes.
 
on if Granit has spoken to him or his team-mates...
Whatever happens internally, I'm sorry but we cannot discuss. It's been resolved internally and this is what I can say.
 
on whether Granit has a future at Arsenal after 'another rocky moment'...
He has [had a few rocky moments] and he's not the only one. There's a lot of players who have had rocky moments. What I can say about Granit is that his professionalism and his commitment with the club and with his teammates is maximum. He knows and we know that he had a moment where he lost it and I know the reason why, but what I cannot do is just throw everything that he has done away just because he made a mistake. We have all made mistakes and I am here as well to protect the players when I see that they deserve that and for sure, Granit is one of them for the way he approaches every training session and the way he wants to do things in the right way all the time and the professional that he is.

on if he's discussed the current situation with the board...
Before you look to the future, you have to look to the past and the things that have happened, how you're going to move forward, the things that are working, that things that have to be changed. We all knew the bumps were coming. I think I said many times in this room, it's how we deal with them, how strong we are to get through them and sometimes when things get ugly it's necessary to get brighter and better. Nobody likes to be in the situation that we're in in the Premier League and it's not good enough and it's not acceptable. It's not a quick fix but that does not mean that we're accepting the situation, it's the contrary.

on how it's got to this stage...
This is football. I've looked at some results that we had and compared them against the same opponents. How we played against Burnley and we got a draw and how we play against Burnley and we lost the game. I'm sorry this is football and we deserved to win this game, probably we didn't [even] deserve to get a draw vs Burnley last year. There are emotions, there is the confidence, there is the details that happen in football and sometimes it's difficult to explain - but that's why this sport works as well.

on if he's feeling under pressure at the moment...
I feel the pressure all of the time. When we have those spells, everything has not been beautiful. The last few months of last summer there were a lot of difficult moments, believe me. There wasn't everything nice and easy and enjoyable. Obviously, when you are winning, you create a different mood. Then the pressure once you win is to win again, the pressure is always going to exist, I prefer that. That pressure when you are always thinking about winning and going into the next trophy but this is our reality right now and we have to face it. We have to face it being brave, fighting and no one giving up. It's not time to hide, it's time to put your face and your body on the line and at the moment, I'm sorry, but we have to take the bullets. We're not winning football matches and you have to put your chest out [and say], 'Hit me' because you have the right to hit me, because I'm not winning. What else can I do? Put my head down, work harder and try to do things better and improve. It's how we have to approach this in my opinion.
 
on whether it’s right that all criticism goes his way…
It’s natural, I accept it and it’s part of the job. When you’re not getting results, at the end of the day its the manager who has the maximum responsibility to do this. That’s why I accept it because you can say whatever you want to explain, but in the end you have to win football matches and this club is too big to accept this many losses in the last few weeks. My chest is here and hit me you guys.
 
on whether Mesut Ozil could be named in our squad again in January…
We will address that situation when the window opens and see what we do. Now, sorry Ian, but I am just focused on tomorrow’s game.
 
on the importance of a manager being ‘popular’ amongst his players…
I wouldn’t say you have to be a friend, but you need a level of chemistry and understanding and a relationship because in the end what you have to build has to be expressed by those players and they have to believe in what you’re trying to transmit to them. They have to trust you as a man and your work needs to have a meaning when you speak to them.
 
on whether he’s aware about reports of unhappy players…
I’ve said it many times, when you have the squad that we have at the moment for many circumstances, it’s impossible to have 31 happy players in the camp. It’s impossible and I don’t know any club in the world that has that, but obviously when you lose again, these things are going to come out to try to put more pressure on and be disruptive. I’m not interested in any of that.
 
on Lucas Torreira’s situation at Atletico Madrid…
We have been dealing with that situation, but again, when the market opens and we have the possibility to bring players in and get players out, whatever we have to do, we will discuss it. I cannot comment on that (whether he’s coming back).

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