Press conference

Arteta on Wolves, Guendouzi, Ozil: transcript

Mikel Arteta was asked a wide range of questions when he faced the media in a Zoom press conference on Thursday evening.

Our head coach was quizzed on Wolves' quality, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Matteo Guendouzi and more.
 
Read on for a full transcript:
 
on the positives from Norwich...
The performance for larger periods of the game, we completely dominated in the way that we wanted and I think a lot of things that we worked on actually happened. As well, the things that are evolving and have to be improved, like the 'compete' side of the team when we just give things to the opponent when the game is under total control that exposes us a little bit. But overall I think it was a very positive night.
 
on Emi Martinez's form...
As I said after he played his first game, Emi has been working and preparing himself for a long time. He has been very respectful with the role that he had when he was the No 2, but the circumstances of the injury to Bernd are that he is the No 1, he is performing well and doing his job and that is what he needs to try to keep doing.
 
on Wolves not being a 'surprise package' anymore...
I think they have shown in the past few years how consistent they have been with their performances. They are a group of players, and a club with a manager that have been doing exactly the same thing for many years and you can see their style of play, and a very clear identity of what they want to do,. They have been recruiting exactly the players they need in the positions to do what they want to do. They are a really difficult side to beat.
 
on the latest team news...
We had a few issues from last night, I won't mention the names but obviously we have been playing a lot of games in the last few days and some players are recovering. We will assess them tomorrow and see who is in the best condition to start and be involved in the game.
 
on the challenge from Wolves...
The manager has created the perfect environment for the players. I think they didn't have very big expectations but with their performances and their consistency, they have gained respect from all the teams in the league. They compete really well, a really clear gameplan of how they want to expose their opponent, very solid defensively and with some really good talent in forward positions that can win the game at any moment. A very complicated side.
 
on why he is positive on Aubameyang's future...
I don't know, it is the way that I feel, the way that I communicate with him, the conversations that I have with him and the people around him. It is the energy I sense. It is just my opinion, things change in football very quickly but when you ask me in that moment how I feel about Auba's future, in this moment I feel that he wants to continue with us and keep developing and help us to become a better team.
 
on whether the positive signs from the team will convince Auba to stay...
I think so, he needs to feel he belongs somewhere that he believes we can achieve the goals that he has individually and collectively for a long time. He is very settled in the city, his family are really happy here as well I think, and he is loved, respected and admired nay his team-mates, which is a huge thing to have at any football club. So that's what gives me positivity, as well because I see the enjoyment he is having, the work-rate that he puts in all the time, and the decisions that he makes every time. So that is where my feelings are coming from.
 
on whether he is interested in Thomas Partey...
I cannot talk about being interested in any players that are playing in any team that is not ours, sorry.
 
on what he needs to strengthen in the window...
I'm very clear. I have a very clear plan and the specificity of the players, the positions and squad balance that we need to compete with the rest of the top teams in the country.

on how Aubameyang compares to Aguero...
They have completely different qualities overall, but a very common thing which is that they have an incredible ability to put the ball in the back of the net, for sure. Very different characters, very different players. Both ruthless to train, to keep scoring goals, being annoyed if they don't do so, and an incredible talent to do the most difficult thing in football: scoring goals.

on how important it would be to keep Aubameyang...
Yeah when we played with Robin [van Persie], he used to make the difference for us every week. I always say that he was one of the strikers I most enjoyed playing with because of his intelligence, the overall quality to play around in any position in area of the field and as well the quality of his finishing and movement. Now we have the luck of having Auba and a player that can do that in any moment of the game. We have to feed him and put in the right position as much as possible in the game to help us win as much as we can.

on Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore...
They link with each other really well. Their understanding, their movement, the partnership that they have... they are a big threat. I think Raul, the way he's settled in the country and the player he's become is as well because of the structure that he has in the team that his manager has created, and the players around him as well. Adama, I know him from his time at Barcelona, and he's a player that can unlock the door at any moment in the game.
on whether he's decided if Ozil and Guendouzi will be in the squad for Wolves...
It's still to be decided.

on how much he's learned from his time in charge so far...
It's been a challenge because as you've said, so many different things have happened in six months. A big lockdown, a lot of games when I joined, a lot of games after the lockdown, very little time to train and a lot of issues to be resolved as well around the team and within the club. Gathering all the information that I can to make the best possible decisions for the future of the club, to try to improve the team as much as possible, to get to know the players that we have, the environment that we're trying to create, our culture. Hopefully step by step we'll get better.

on how close he is to getting the starting XI he wants...
I think this is something that is always in constant evaluation. Things change very quickly from one week to another. You have to see players' reactions when things are going for them or when they have a difficult moment, or bad results. It's part of the process but everyone's getting chances and the young players - not that I've given them the chance - they deserve it with the work that's they're putting in, and as well the work that the staff and academy members have done in the past with them to get them ready for the stage they are at. We are evaluating a lot of things at the moment, as well as trying to get the best possible performances and the wins that we need to climb the table.

on whether breaking down Wolves' defence is the biggest challenge this weekend...
Yes. I think a lot of teams have struggled to create anything against them. They are really, really strong defensively, very well structured, very little spaces to attack. We have a plan to try to help them, with the right players in the right spaces to try to create the chances that we need to win the game. As well, they're a team who try to counter-attack and when they are stable in the final third against the opponent, they have the players to hurt you. That's why they are very solid and consistent. They are a team that doesn't concede many and always has a good chance to win the game, and be up near the top of the table.
 
on big week coming up...
I think about tomorrow and preparing the best possible training session, going to Wolves and trying to win the game and seeing what happens. At the moment it's not in our hands to do anything other than win football matches and give oursleves the best possible chance in the last two or three games to see where we can get.

on if Mikel looks at the results of teams around us...
I do of course, yes.

on Adama Traore's form...
I always saw incredible potential and that he could develop and evolve certain areas of his game. He was unstoppable to play at times. When he gets service in the right moments and gets isolated, it's so difficult to defend and he is showing that in a constant way right now. Something that is not easy to do for a very talented football player.

on the league being a top two, then a following six teams...
It looks like it at the moment, what has been happening in the last two or three years suggests that but things change very quickly. Look how Liverpool have evolved in the last four or five years, United as well are looking really strong at the moment and are making a lot of right decisions, Leicester is the same. Wolves and the season they are having, I suspect they will get better so it's going to be a challenge. That gap [with Liverpool] has to be closed and for us the margin we have for improvement is still very very big.
 
on William Saliba...
As you know, both clubs had some conversations, at the moment they haven't reached any agreement for him to be able to play in the final. At the end of the day he is our player and we want the best for him. We want to protect him and we want him in the best possible condition for us as well when he joins us but it is something that is being dealt with at club level.

on moving any centre-backs on in the summer...
We will see because Pablo won't be available to start the season and Callum won't be available to start the season. We have nine games left until the end of the season, a lot of things can happen. William has had a lot of issues this season with injuries as well so he has not been a stable player in that sense so let's wait and see. At the moment we're going to have options and we will consider the situation with what is best to do in the future but we don't have much stability at the moment.

on having to sell players in order to bring players in...
Again, we don't know how the market is going to be. Obviously we are putting different plans together to see what we are going to be able to do. At the moment the uncertainty is still big as well, the way we are going to finish the season will dictate a lot of things financially as well so we have to be a bit patient and see what happens.

on will we see smaller transfer spend in the summer...
We have seen different things, the way Chelsea is dealing with the market is different to the rest at the moment. Bayern Munich as well have been really aggressive so I don't know. If you ask me we cannot be a team that has to sell his best player to try to bring in and improve our squad, that's for sure.

on if Granit Xhaka can be an example to Matteo Guendouzi...
We try to deal with every situation individually. Try to assess everything that has happened and try to help the player, try to improve them, try to give them the right environment and that is not different to any other player.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Europa League
Ticket Info

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

ACADEMY

 

Fixtures

Results

Premier League
Europa League