Press conference

Arteta on the win, Europe, Martinelli and more

Mikel Arteta was delighted as we scored two late goals to boost our chances of European football next season with a win at Crystal Palace.

Afterwards he faced the media and discussed the character shown by the team, Gabriel Martinelli, taking it to the final day, and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the importance of the win...
Yes, it was a crucial moment because we wanted to go into the final day with every chance to be in Europe next season. In order to do that we knew we had to win today and wait for some results, and with the way the game was developing, we were running out of time and it looked difficult. But at the end we found a way to do it.

on what the change in the game was down to...
Well the change in momentum was with the things we did really well in those periods, and then when we stopped doing those things [it changed]. We started playing the game we wanted to play, the plan that we wanted to do, avoid what they want to do and then when you do that, you and in control and we had the chances and we had the dominance in the game. The moment we conceded the goal  after losing the ball and making an unnecessary foul in a dangerous area, we conceded the goal and after that we just lost it. We started to give balls away, we didn't look composed at the back during our build-up and we looked uncertain. When that happens, long balls, second balls, duels, 50/50 balls, they are much better at that than us, so I think after the changes we got that control back much better, we were more composed, we played in the final third without creating much I must say, but at the end with two great actions we managed to win the game.

on how close Martinelli is to a starting spot...
Very close. He needs to keep fighting to be closer and closer. We need to understand where the boys are in the phase of their development and what they have done already this season and last season. I know that we want to play with 11 academy players under 20, but guys, who is doing that? We are doing more than anybody and they are going to have the chances, they are earning their chances, it's not like we are giving the chances. They are earning the chances and it's a joy to have them with us.

on whether the European exit has liberated the team...
Well I think you have to win the four matches to prove that you have reacted as a team. The reaction and the pain in that dressing room still hurts and that is what we are using in the final games to show everybody and show ourselves that we could have done better, but we're not going to give up and we're going to challenge to the last day to give Arsenal a chance to be back in Europe and have the opportunity again.

on Odegaard's pass for Martinelli's goal...
With his quality he is able to do that, and that connection with those runners from the opposite side is something he is really good at. He is finding the right moment and right time to do it, and Gabi to manage that ball - because it was not easy at all to try to control it.

on scoring a late goal...
You saw me on the touchline. I'm so happy. When you're able to win a game in the last minute, it's always really pleasing because it shows the team how much they want it and [how much they] believe up to the last whistle, so really good.

on if Nicolas Pepe has now settled as a Premier League player...
Well, I'm very encouraged and positive to think that way for two reasons. One, because he's come a long way, in terms of consistency of what he's producing in games. Not only in the Premier League but what he's done in Europe this season. And the second one, because of his serious mindset. He wants to look at every action, he wants to look at every post-match reflection we do with him individually. He wants to work and he wants to be the best. And when that happens and he has the talent that he has, I think it's a really good mixture.

on if it matters which European competition we play in next season...
Well, we want to be in the Europa League if I can have the chance to decide. Finish as high as possible in that table and be in Europe.

on beating Roy Hodgson in his final game at Selhurst Park...
Yeah, but that's not the relevant thing. I think it was great timing to get the crowd back in at the stadium because what they did for him, I think was really emotional and nice and totally deserved, so yeah. I apologise for that [beating him] but what he's done in his career is incredible. It's not about what happened tonight.

on the importance of fans supporting the team against Brighton...
Yeah, you can see today. It was touching just being in the dressing room before the game, just listening to them signing, creating an atmosphere. This is how we've grown up, and as a player, there's nothing better than that. I'm sure they will turn up, support the team and we need to create again that strong connection with the fans because I believe that if we have them on board, really on board behind the team, I think we're going to have some really good moments together.

on the character of the team..
Yes, but we have to handle that situation. If somebody were to say to us in November or December that we could be in the position that we're in to have the chance in the last game to qualify for Europe, we'd have said you're crazy, but we've done it. I think what ourselves and the number of points that we've managed to get in those months, we have earned the right to be in that position. Now it's time to deliver on the final day, but unfortunately, it's not in our hands.

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