Press conference

Arteta on the win, Smith Rowe, Saka and more

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was pleased to see his side deliver an improved performance to beat West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Afterwards he faced the media and discussed the performance, Emile Smith Rowe, Willian and Bukayo Saka.

Read on for a full transcript:

on getting back to winning ways...
It's always the best way to remedy the pain that we had, to win the game, to score the three beautiful goals that we have done, and create so many more chances. As well, I think that when we conceded the goal we looked nervous for a period before we got Thomas on the pitch to recover some control. Overall, after not going through to the final, it's always very important to win the game.
 
on whether we can play with freedom now the pressure is off...
No, we have a huge responsibility to win every game we play when we represent this football club. As well, if anybody can question anything, our level, our ability, whatever it is, they can. But our attitude, that's a non-negotiable one and right up to the end, we have to try to win our matches and see what happens.
 
on finishing above Tottenham...
That's another motivation and we know that it's very important as well. But we can only control our results and at the moment we cannot control theirs. What we have to do is win our matches.
 
on Bukayo Saka's versatility for England's Euro squad...
He's a kid who has the intelligence to understand different positions. Today we asked him to play [left back] because of how West Brom set up, and we believed that we could exploit his qualities there. He still has things to learn obviously defensively because it's been a while since he played in that position, but I think he had the right approach to it. That's the first and most important thing. And then his quality defines a lot of moments.
 
on whether David Luiz, Mari or Xhaka will be fit for Chelsea...
Let's see how they recover. Again, we've lost so many players in recent weeks, so many big players. They have a huge effect in the team and it will be great because we have a very difficult game against [Chelsea].
 
on whether he regrets not playing Saka at left back against Villarreal...
No. I regret that Granit could not start. That was my biggest regret because everything that we prepared, it was with him in that position.
 
on whether qualifying for the European Conference League would be a success...
Success, achievement and progress - and I think you asked me this question the other day - to the outside is only related to our results. Obviously with the results that have to be related to this football club, it's to win the Premier League, it's to win the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. We haven't done any of that. But we have done many different things. If you ask me where we are today compared to a year ago, we are miles away in 90 per cent of the things, including performances. But, results-wise, we won the FA Cup and this year we didn't.
 
on Emile Smith Rowe limping off...
I don't know, he felt something in his hamstring so we took him off.
 
on whether he could be out for a while...
I don't know. Sometimes he cramps and that's something that's been happening for a while because he's still adapting to the league, to the amount of games every three days. Hopefully it's nothing major.
 
on that being Smith Rowe's first of many Premier League goals...
It says a lot in terms of where we are. He's having an incredible season ever since he started to play in December. But he's scoring his first Premier League goal. An incredible season for a No 10 of Arsenal means he needs to score 15 goals and give 10 assists. Then you are right up there with the top guys in Europe and in the league. He's got the ability to do it but he hasn't done it. We need to stay calm with him, give him the right support and step by step I think he will be getting there.
 
on Willian scoring his first Arsenal goal...
Willian has done it in the past, that's the big difference. He's done it for many years and has achieved everything in the game. Somehow this season we haven't managed to get the best out of him. He had some spells where we could see highlights of things he can do and today was a good example of that.
 
on whether he will rotate again at Chelsea...
The schedule that we've been through with the Europa League has been crazy. We've played every three days with the circumstances that we are in, with the amount of injuries we've had, we've put the players in a very difficult position. We need to freshen up, we need players who have the right mentality, with the right attitude.

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