Press conference

Arteta on team news, Smith Rowe and Palace

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was back on Zoom on Thursday for another virtual press conference to preview Monday's match against Crystal Palace.

 
Our manager discussed the latest team news, Patrick Vieira's return, Granit Xhaka and more.
 
Read on for a full transcript:
 
on the team news and the latest on Granit Xhaka…
At the moment everyone seems to be okay. Granit is progressing really well but obviously we know it is a long-term injury unfortunately and he’s not going to be available.
 
on whether the international break will help us again…
It is what it is. We managed to turn things around a little bit [during the previous international break] but there is still a big margin for improvement. But we got  important results that were very needed in that moment and we just need to think about doing things better, progressing up the table and focus on winning our next match.
 
on increasing our attacking threat…
There have been many areas [of focus], that is one of them obviously. The players we have available here to work because of internationals is very limited but it is certainly something we can do better and improve in our efficiency in front of goal, and when we get that balance right it will obviously help us to win more game.
 
on Patrick Vieira as a player and a captain...
He is an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did for the club, not only as a player but also what he transmitted as a person. He was a captain of the club in the most successful era in the last many years and it is great to have him back.
 
on how he's adapted as a Premier League manager...
Well, he has already a couple of experiences [as a manager] and he knows the league really well. You can see the touch that he is trying to put in the team and the things he is trying to implement there.
 
on whether the way Vieira sets up Palace gives us an opportunity...
I don't know how they are going to set up, they have done it in different ways and have used different players in - most of the time - similar formations. So let's see how the game develops.
 
on being named Manager of the Month...
Yeah, it is not personal because it is [also for] all the people behind who help to achieve those trophies. It is nice and we will now just focus on the next thing, which is win more football matches and hopefully there will be more to come because that would mean we are doing the right things.
 
on how quickly things change in football...
It is the opportunity that this gamer gives you and you have to stand up, keep believing, work hard, be critical and analyse things to try to change them and improve them. Football always gives you another opportunity.
 
on fans reacting positively to Patrick Vieira's return to the Emirates...
I have no doubt that that will be the case. To have him back and to welcome him and having his figure [back] and what he's been at the club. Recognising him the right manner, I think it's really important and I'm sure that that will be the case.

on Granit Xhaka's return...
With Granit, I don't know, but I'm sure that if you tell him three [months], he will be thinking two [months]. He will be trying to do extra work to try to minimise that time, that's for sure. We have to do it in the right way because it's a significant injury and we want to have him back properly when he can.

on if Thomas Partey will be ready for Crystal Palace...
Well, let's see. We haven't had the players here yet. Some of them because they're still travelling and they've not been assessed by the medical staff, but hopefully. He finished both games really well. He played well and scored a couple of goals like many other players did in this international break, and hopefully, everybody is in the right condition on Monday to help us win the game.

on Patrick Vieira's appointment...
Well, he had experiences before. Obviously, Patrick knows the league much better probably than any other manager because he has experienced it himself as a player and it's great that he's had the opportunity to do that.

on Thierry Henry's comments....
No I haven't [heard those comments]. I've just heard them from you. It's just another opinion so you have to respect that.

on the timing of the break...
When you're in a good moment, you want to carry on playing as quickly as possible. When the confidence is there, and the momentum is there, you want to continue, but again, we knew that we had to stop after that game. [We knew] that we had to get as many points as possible, and we did well enough to do that and be in a different position than a month ago, and now we have to just improve it.

on managing Arsenal 25 years on from Arsene Wenger's first game...
I don't know. When you are still in this industry, that ball is rolling and roles change and in the next 10 years, something else could happen with another former player or another manager that has a different role in another team. It's part of what it is.
 
on the Invincibles team…
They were a joy to watch. I think that team had everything and they dominated every aspect of the game in the right way. It had incredible leadership to start with, with some of the names they had it had a presence, the right identity and the talent and the quality and the self-confidence to believe that they were the best, and they showed it.
on whether he would have liked to have played against Vieira…
No! He was very dominant. He was physically really gifted, technically too, he had the right temper, he was brave and he could score goals. He could do a bit of everything and he was remarkable.

on whether Lacazette could leave in January…
We are focusing on getting the best out of Laca and he shows every day his commitment is here. We just want to give him the right minutes so that he can show his quality and help the team to do better.

on Jack Wilshere and whether we have a plan for him…
He is around the place and we are trying to help him to get fit. He is training sometimes with us and the academy, he’s around the place and it’s been great to have him around. That will continue to be the case.

on whether we’ve lacked a leader in midfield since Vieira left…
I don’t know, that was a long time ago so I don’t know what the research has been. There have been some really good midfielders and Patrick was Patrick. There’s not going to be another one like him.

on a need for a big leader in midfield…
Yes, but you can have them in different positions and with different qualities. It’s a different era as well and the way that players were raised and educated is different to today. We cannot try to copy that and obviously it would be great to have someone like Patrick or Tony in the team, but we have different qualities and different characteristics and we have to develop them.

on Aaron Ramsdale’s positive start to life in north London…
We tried to make a decision as a club to sign and bring in the right profile that we believe he had all the qualities needed to succeed at the club. It’s very early to make a judgement of how good he is, but the way that he’s settled and what he can transmit on and off the pitch I think is really important. He has engaged and he has adapted really well to the club. I think he’s getting a very good connection as well to our supporters and he’s performing well, which is the most important thing.
 
on if Ramsdale could challenge Pickford as England’s No 1…
He needs to keep performing like what he’s done and always try to think about what he’s doing right, and then continue to do those things, be humble and think about the things he can improve. Then, everything will come naturally, as has already happened very early on with him, to be a goalkeeper with his age and his career. He deserves that because of how he’s handled every step along the way. Some of them have been difficult moments and disappointments, which are important as well to evolve in your career.
 
on if Emile Smith Rowe needs to add more goals to his game…
I think the intention, the hunger and the ambition should be there. He’s capable of doing it. We want to ask players [to do] things they can achieve, and I’m sure Emile can improve that part of his game. He’s so willing to do it. He’s working on it almost every day and he’s asking the right questions. He’s getting better because he has a real hunger.
 
on Smith Rowe’s humility…
To be fair, Emile is naturally like this. If anything, sometimes you have to tell him how good he is. He needs to believe how good he is. You have to encourage him to try [things] he’s capable of doing. He’s a joy to work with. It’s still very early in his career but we’re really happy to have him in the team.
 
on Martinelli’s lack of game time…
Well, because of the amount of players we have in those positions. First of all, he had some games that he played. He started against Brentford and he started against Chelsea as well. Unfortunately he got injured last week - it’s a minor injury and we don’t know if he’s going to be available for Monday. We have a lot of options with Gabi and we need to find the right space for him to grow within the squad.
 
on Martinelli's progression…
No, if you look at the number of games that he’s played, the injuries he’s suffered have been big setbacks. We sometimes forget his age, what he’s done and where he is. We need to try to help him to maintain that balance because you know you can generate frustration that, in my opinion, comes out of a not very realistic diagnosis. You need time to do that.
 
on if Martinelli could go on loan…
I’m very happy with him. We’re not thinking about anything like that.
 
on potentially losing Elneny and Partey to AFCON…
Let’s see where we are at that point, which players we have available and which players definitely have to be there and for how long, because there are some question marks there as well. We will find a solution. If they have to leave, they have to leave. We’ll have to find the right replacements for them.
 
on Matteo Guendouzi - and if there’s nay chance of him returning this season…
For right now, he’s gone for the season. I think he’s having a really good spell at Marseille, and it’s part of the plan we made with him. He’s continued with his development and we’ll make a decision at the end of the year.
 
on if Guendouzi has played his last game for Arsenal…
I think you cannot say that about a player that is owned by the club.

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