Press conference

Arteta - We need to protect the players more

With a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the demands on the players have never been greater than they are now.

Mikel Arteta appreciates the need to adapt to the circumstances we are all living through, but says additional measure of support are required.
"It's really demanding and it's never been done, to play the amount of games that we have to play in a calendar year, in the history of football," he said.
"Obviously, we know the consequences of that and the only thing from my side that I would demand to the Premier League and to the broadcasters is, 'Let's protect the players'. At the end of the day, this industry, yes we can do it without us being together in a room.
"We've been doing it, training individually and doing it without having the possibility as the manager to speak to them all in a room, and we've even done it without the fans. But guys, we need the players. We have to protect them as much as possible.
"They are the protagonists of this whole industry and whatever you can do, if you have to modify the rules and make them a little bit more flexible for them to give them a better opportunity to be fit - and it's not just physically, I mean mentally as well - then let's just do it, please."
Talk has resurfaced about re-introducing the five-substitute rule - and Arteta says it would make a big difference.

"I am all for it and not only that but to extend the numbers in the squad," he said. "At the moment, we have a big squad for different reasons and we have to leave seven or eight players at home. And at home means at home because from the training ground you go home and then from home you go to the training ground.
"So even mentally, to feel involved you are travelling away and you are two days without the squad and without your team-mates. It will be really helpful for them.
"So let's try to help them and make them involved in what we are trying to do here and I think that there are easy decisions. But I don't know. It's my opinion and let's hope we can change it."

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