Interview

Arteta - We wanted to see how Auba would cope

For Mikel Arteta, Sunday was the perfect way to bounce back. 

Not only did we beat Newcastle United 2-0 but club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was able to start his first game this month - and even got his name on the scoresheet too.

We caught up with Arteta after the game. Here's what he sad to say:

Mikel, that's a much-needed confidence booster today, isn't it?
Yes, we needed the result, that's for sure. Not only for Thursday, but for the way the team has played in recent games, and hasn't been rewarded. It's true that on Thursday it was two different halves, and this is the best way to prepare for that game. But the Premier League is important, the players that haven't played so much played a lot of minutes today and they showed that they can play a really high level. 

Did we see the importance of scoring that first goal in a game, which we haven't been able to do recently?
Yes, absolutely. It brings confidence, it puts us in control. I think the team controlled the game really well and we had periods of a lot quality. The timing, the movement, the understanding and the chemistry between the players was really good. We scored a good second goal as well.

And for Mo Elneny, we've seen him score some great goals in Europe. It's his first Premier League goal today so you must be delighted for him...
Yeah, you can see from the reaction of his team-mates that he's a really popular character in the dressing room and he works really hard every day. He behaves the right way and he only thinks about the team. 

It's been a difficult time for Auba as well, with his illness, and he's needed a goal today for his confidence. How is he percentage-wise? Is he nearly 100 per cent?
We wanted to see how he could cope. On Thursday he was only able to play 10 or 15. He had some difficult days just before the game. He felt better before the game, I spoke with him and he wanted to start. He managed to play more minutes than we expected and score a goal too. 

You've got some big decisions to make ahead of Thursday's game now...
Yes. We need to pick the right team to beat them and then on the substitutions, which are key in Europe. We'll go for it. 

Just finally, on that huge game that's coming up on Thursday, what did you learn from the first leg that we can take into that second game?
There are certain things in Europe you have to be aware of. In the boxes you have to be really on it. Discipline is massive as well.

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