Mikel Arteta had plenty to be positive about after his Arsenal side dispatched the MLS All-Stars 5-0 on Wednesday evening here in the USA.
We took control from the moment Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring after just five minutes, with Leandro Trossard, Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and Kai Havertz also hitting the target at a sold out Audi Field.
After the game the manager spoke to the media about the game, Leandro Trossard's fitness, the new signings and plans for next season. Here's a full transcript of what he said.
On how much he enjoyed the game:
It was a great occasion and a great atmosphere. It was great to see so many Arsenal supporters filling the stadium. We had some great moments in the game and some moments, especially in the first-half that weren’t that great, but we’re still very early in pre-season and it was great to see some debuts with Jurrien, Auston and Declan obviously, and I was really pleased in the end with the result.
On Trossard’s injury:
He got a knock and obviously we don’t want to take any risks at this stage. He had some pain and we will see how tomorrow is, but I don’t expect it to be anything big.
On what he wants from Matt Turner next season:
First of all, the same as last year which is a great contribution to the squad and a great contribution to the goalkeeping unit as well because he’s so competitive and keeps everyone at their best level every single day. Then when he played he’s been great with us and with the national team he’s been superb, so I think he’s on a great trajectory. Obviously he needed some holiday because it’s been a long, long year for him, I don’t know how many competitions he’s played in, but it was so many and so he needed a break. When it’s after his break he will be back with us.
On seeing the stadium full of Arsenal supporters:
Well, it’s great. We are a massive club and we’ve had a tremendous impact in world football and it’s great to see that whatever city you’re in you have support. We had people waiting for us in the hotel and it was great to see that today. I’m sure we’re going to go to New York and it’s going to be very similar, and we’re going to LA as well, so I think it’s great for the boys to realise where they are and how privileged they are to represent this football club. Thank you to all of them for being here and giving their support to the team.
On having a physical game with the MLS All-Stars:
I want it as competitive as I possibly can. As well for those players who planned to play for 45 minutes, and in the next few games we’ll build the minutes for them as well. We knew that they were an opposition in the middle of their season, they are really fit at the moment. We suffered in certain moments with the heat and conditions, and having to adapt to the pitch as well, but that’s the start of the process in pre-season. You look to adapt and defend in the conditions and find a way to play well and win the game.
On our new signings bedding in quickly:
They are and we have to find that fluidity within the game, and those relationships. That’s something that is difficult to predict as a coach what’s going to work, but sometimes whether it’s on the pitch or sitting at the table, and they find that chemistry between them. Especially, in the first half, the way we started, we were a bit suffocated with the weather, and we started to give too many simple balls away, and we could not really control the game. But it was true that we were exceptional in both boxes today; every time we were in the final third in good positions, we put the ball in the back of the net, and we have to defend moments in those transitions when we give the ball away. I think we defended really well, as well.
On Timber’s importance:
I think you’ve seen tonight that he’s a really versatile player, you can see him defend in those positions. He gives you the capacity to invert, to occupy different spaces. He’s so comfortable on the ball in that phase and he’s also got this aggression in the duels and that dynamism that I really like about him. You saw from the first action; he went and won the ball straight away on that duel and he was ready to go. He’s been like that in the last few days – he’s playing really well with the team, and I think he’s going to be a really important player for us.
On Kai Havertz adapting to different positions:
I think, again, it’s one of the main qualities he has. He gives us something very different with his quality and size as well, when you have to beat the press for example and use him as a target man. So, we will see – for now, he’s playing in the attacking midfield position, but I’m sure throughout the season and throughout games as well, we’re going to have the options to play him in different positions.
On whether there will be more variety from Arsenal this season:
We have to see, but the idea is to be more unpredictable every year and be more difficult for the opponents to stop and nullify what we want to do. That’s what we have now, especially at the back and in the midfield the options we have, to open up the spaces, we have many more options than we had last year.
On the Americans in the Arsenal squad:
We wanted to give them the opportunities to play obviously, and both of them played. Matt is not with us obviously but with Auston and Flo I think they deserved to enjoy that moment and get that recognition and play in front of the crowd. I think they really enjoyed it.
On whether our attacking options will help us this season:
I hope so. We have to start doing the right things in preseason to get the best possible preparation and get that chemistry and cohesion in the team. And then we go step by step. It’s a tremendous league, it’s so competitive. Let’s see how we start and we will go from there.
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