Press conference

Arteta on... the win, character, Pepe, Xhaka

Mikel Arteta was understandably delighted with our performance against Leicester on Sunday as we claimed our second comeback win on the road in the space of four days.

Afterwards our manager faced the media and discussed the character the team showed, Willian, Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe and more.
 
Read on for a full transcript:
 
on whether that's our best 90 minutes of the season...
I don't know but I'm certainly happy with the performance of the team, and again the character, the composure that we showed. Coming here after a very short turnaround from Benfica, and going down very early put us in a really difficult position against a Leicester team that probably is the best in that area. I think we played some really good moments in the game, looked really solid, we dominated the game and I think overall we deserved the win.

on our first win away to a top-three team in the PL since 2015...
For me it's not only about that, it's how we play against an opponent of top quality. It's about composing ourselves, trying to be Arsenal all the time - it doesn't matter who we play against, it's about having the courage to do it against top-quality players. I'm proud of the win but more about the way we've done it.

on Willian's performance...
He was really good. We've seen that in training the last few weeks. He's rebuilding himself and he's not accepted the situation. I think he was the player who changed the game against Benfica in the last few moments when he came on, and today I think he was terrific. The same with the other senior players. Laca, I think the way he played, Nico grew in the game and had a big impact as well. Granit as well. A player who has played that many minutes, to play with the heart and the passion he showed in every action, I think it's a great example for the rest of the players.

on how we build on this week's wins...
Every game is going to be different. What we've done today is not going to have a knock-on effect on the next Premier League game, but I think the team is clearly improving and is taking a direction that I like. Then all the time I say the same thing, about the constancy. We are still giving things to the opponent. We did it against Benfica, we did it against Benfica at home, we've done it today against a more dangerous team in short transitions, and that's something that we have to eradicate to give ourselves the best possible chance. Everything I see, attitude-wise, what we are creating as a group, and then the way we are playing within our model, it looks much closer to what we want.

on Emile Smith Rowe...
I'm concerned because for Emile to come out and say, 'I cannot continue playing'... It should be something related to his hip. I don't know how bad he is but he was in a good place after the game.

on whether it was a gamble to make so many changes...
Probably people will think that it was a gamble but I see them train every day and they are playing because they deserve to play. When they deserve to play, I think players have to feel supported and valued. The only way to do it is to play them. In football, anything can happen but I think the performance levels they've shown is not a coincidence, it's the way they've prepared themselves and how they've prepared themselves every day.

on Granit Xhaka and his importance in the team...
If you have to put an example on that pitch about character and about going for every single goal with that determination, then probably it's him. He's played more minutes than anybody else but he keeps going, even when he is so tired. He tries to help the team in the right way and the same like with David. For someone like him, at his age, to play again quickly after the game we had to play against Benfica, it was tough. But they had the real attitude that they wanted to be involved, they wanted to play and that's how they approach every game.

on how crucial it was to capitalise on chances before half-time...
We have to be clinical and we lost two games - against Wolves and Aston Villa - where when you look back at them you say 'How the hell have we lost?' but we lost them because we gave something to the opponent and then when we had the chances in the key moments in the game to kill them, we didn't. In the Premier League you know that the margins are not that big. But what we are doing and the way that the team is evolving, I think now that we have some consistency.

on Martinelli and whether his injury history is on the manager's mind...
Well, he needs to keep working and making it difficult for us. He is a player that is going to give us a lot, but we need some time to find the right games for him and the right connections with him on the pitch so that he can do what he does best. But the way he is and the way he trains every day, he is going to be a really important player for us, no doubt. But when you have many options, it is difficult when you look for certain qualities in certain games.

on three players going off injured today and the physical effects the season is having on players...
I think it's absolutely normal that it's happening. That's why we needed to change players, because if not we were going to expose our players to getting injured. But sometimes we don't have that chance as a manager because we don't have enough players or you have the necessity to win and play them again. But it is insane. The amount of minutes and games that these players are playing without any preseason, without any break, you're going to get injuries. We talked about it and all the managers raised our voices at the start of the season and this has happened.

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