Press conference

Arteta on the win, Jesus, Odegaard and transfers

Mikel Arteta on the bench at the Sevilla game

It was a very happy homecoming for Mikel Arteta and the team after a successful pre-season programme in Germany and the USA.

After four wins out of four during those two trips, we ran out convincing 6-0 winners over the side that finished fourth in La Liga last term, back in front of our supporters at the Emirates.

So not surprisingly, the manager was a very happy man after the game. Here’s every word of the manager’s post-match press conference from our final friendly match of pre-season:

on the game...

We prepared to play against a team that has been very, very successful in the last few years, that has a huge European experience and we wanted a different test. They have a different way of playing, a different character. Te games you have to play within the game is something different and it's good preparation for us, and there were many moments within the game that went for us. Obviously, it's a big score but there are still a lot of things that we need to improve.

on the quality of defending... 

It's about the connection between all the players, all the units, the intensity, the willingness to win the ball as high as possible on the pitch. The moment we give it away it's about how the team reacts, how compact we are, how willing we are when that press is beaten to get back and be compact again. It's just a team effort and individually and collectively they are really living the game in every single ball and this is what we demand them to do. 

on Gabriel Jesus settling in so well...

You are hoping that that is going to happen but obviously a player has to adapt to a new city, to a new club, new teammates and he's done it in a really fast and natural way. You can see the way they look for him on the pitch, on and off the ball, and what he's able to transmit as well on that pitch so I am really happy.

on Martin Odegaard...

I think he makes Gabby better and he needs a threat in front of him because he's a player that can find the last pass at any moment. When he's in close or open spaces, we need someone to make him look better and I think the connection is already there and with the wingers too.

on if we were missing movement up front last season...

We tried to improve the team and recruit in order to get better and obviously there were some things that we didn't have. We tried to get them when we bring people in or develop our players and that's always the objective.

on Gabriel Jesus' role in the team...

What are seeing is that everybody, not just Gabby, plays at that intensity and that willingness to win the ball, to promote mistakes and to play in the opponent's half as much as possible. You cannot do that if players at the front are walking, they are not tracking, they don't have that instinct and that intention to provoke things that we want and Gabby is phenomenal at that.

on if he's an out-and-out centre forward...

His versatility is well known. Now we are using him as a nine, he can play as a winger, off the left and the right. You can play with two strikes as we have done in pre-season as well and change the shape a little bit. He gives us a lot of flexibility.

on the strength of the squad…

We’re still hoping to do something else if the market allows us to do that. You've seen some movement in the other direction in the last few days so we want to get the perfect balance and the plan we wanted right at the beginning. Whether we can accomplish that or not is another story, but I’m happy with where we are now.

on Bellerin following Tavares out on loan…

We don’t know, we’re going case by case. For Nuno’s development, I think it’s going to be really important. Obviously, we have recruited Oleks in that position and we have Kieran as well, which is two really strong players in that position, and we believe that Nuno’s best solution was to do that.

on Odegaard becoming captain…

What I’ve seen over the past 18 months since he’s been with us, he’s represented the values of this football club, the team, the teammates and the staff in the best possible way. He’s displayed an ambition to take this club to a different level, to push this team and contribute within it, and as well the way he is respected by everyone inside the organisation. He’s also the captain of his national team and I think it was the right call, and I’m proud to announce that because I think he’s a really good person to deliver that commitment to the club.

on players not taking the knee…

I don’t know we didn’t have it, there was so much going on with the two acts that we had before the match. We didn’t play the song either, so there were a lot of things today and we had to prioritise what we could do. The kick-off was delayed too so things just didn’t work out.

on pre-season as a whole…

I am. We had a mixture of spending time here in London and being away, and we have played competitive matches against very different opponents and formations and ways of playing and behaviours from teams. We have had different conditions as well, we were in Germany and we had to acclimatise with the weather there, and we went to the US and it was the same, now we play with different context and atmosphere as well, so in general I feel like the team is prepared. The ball is going to start rolling on Friday night and it will be a different story.

on the injured players being ready for Friday…

I think that most of them will be, they’ll have to go through what they need to this week and then hopefully we’ll have them available. They are lacking minutes but we’ll have to build that up like any other injury that we get during the season.

on Zinchenko…

First of all, his mentality. He’s used to winning - winning is the only thing and winning in the right way. He’s a perfectionist and a really demanding boy, I know him so well, and after that he brings qualities that we didn’t have in the squad. He gives us a different option to play within the role in different spaces, and I’m really happy to have him.

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