Press conference

Arteta's post-match press conference: transcript

Mikel Arteta was delighted to hear the full-time whistle on Saturday night.

Our head coach punched the air as his side continued their 100 per cent record in this season's Premier League, despite the efforts of a resolute West Ham United side.
 
Arteta spoke to the media after the game. Here's a full transcript of what he had to say:
 
on our performance…
I think we were a little bit lucky in certain moments, but we found a way in the end to win it and that’s the mentality I want from the team, to always  believe that we can do it until the last moment, even when we have difficult games where suffer and make it very difficult for ourselves in certain positions. But in the end it’s three points and that’s what we’re here for. We will take some big notes because there are a lot of things to improve.
 
on the quality of Eddie Nketiah’s goal…
Yeah, I think both goals were really, really good. We created some really good movements in some phases of the game, but we weren’t consistent enough and I still think that’s where we have a long way to go. We made things really hard for ourselves in the first 15 or 20 minutes  with the amount of balls that we gave to the opposition without any pressure and that obviously creates uncertainty to sustain any attacks well enough. We let the opponent run which is exactly what they wanted to do, but apart from that, the way the guys kept fighting and kept going and how happy they are today because they finished the match exhausted, mentally as well. I am really glad for them.
 
on whether Arsenal could be title contenders…
No, I think we are very far from where we want to be, but I think if you ask any manager in the Premier League if they are happy with the way everything is going now for the team, it is probably no because we had a super mini pre-season and we are still adapting some things and some players are still not 100 per cent fit either. But it’s great to start winning and to have six points already and to find ways to keep winning.
 
on whether it was one of our poorest performances on the ball since he took over…
Yes, certainly in the first 15 minutes and it’s very strange because we were talking with the staff today that they had their best week in terms of decision making, quality and execution with the ball by far since I joined the club, but then in the first 15 minutes they gave the ball to the wrong colour too often. We need to improve on that and we know that we still have a lot of work to do here, but at least they kept trying and nobody tried to hide. They can make mistakes but I am not going to allow them to hide. In the end you get rewarded.
 
on what it will do for Nketiah's confidence...
It's so important for him and for the team as well. It's a clear message for everybody on the bench, that they have a clear mission when they come on. Whether it's one minute or 45 minutes, they come on to help the team and today Eddie was massively important. He did his job really well.
 
on whether he wants to offer Lacazette an extension...
He's a player I'm really happy with. I think we've shown him a lot of faith since I arrived here. But we cannot start any speculation. We know that any player who is under two years of their contract is always going to be talked about.
 
on whether they're in talks over a new contract at the moment...
At the moment, we haven't started any negotiations. We have a lot of things still to do in this market and at the moment we are focusing on those things.
 
on whether he's had to change mentality to win games like this...
I had a sense after about 55 or 65 minutes that we were dropping. I could see the team were a little bit giving up because it was difficult, they were suffering and they were being a threat in two or three moments. I tried to lift them up and suddenly they clicked. I saw a different team in the last 20 minutes, with more belief, much better focus and determination in what we were trying to do. At the end we won the game. We're going to have games like that. With the amount of games we have to play in this calendar year, it's going to happen. The most important thing is to find a way to win.
 
on whether that was a tactical change...
I think it was two things but at the end of the day they have to go and execute it. I believe that we finished the game more strongly.
 
on Kieran Tierney...
Kieran is fine. He had a little muscular discomfort in the last few days. He tried today and worked in the warm-up but he wasn't feeling comfortable today.
 
on Kieran Tierney injury...
Well, we could not control it. We believed that he was going to be fit but during the warm-up, in the last 10 minutes, he said he wasn't feeling OK. We had to make a decision. We were prepared just in case and Kola came on and had a good game.

on finding the balance between team spirit and tactics...
I think there has to be a balance there. It's how you keep the team alive all the time, on their toes and with the right spirit. It's something that you have to look at every day and try to fit it in the right way, to try and sustain it because it's so easy to lose. Then obviously, the tactical discipline, the understanding of what the game requires in each moment to make the right decisions. Again, it's vital and the standard that we have in the Premier League I think it's key as well but I think they are both really important.

on Eddie and Dani combining for the goal after falling out...
That's the beauty of this sport, they were in the headlines last week for something that happened between them, it would have been negative. Today, they found a way to understand each other and create a winning goal.

on if today shows why the club might be looking for central midfield options...
No, I think they've been really good since I joined the club [Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos]. Not only then but also this season, he deserved to play again today but I just wanted to rotate. I thought it was a game where we were going to attack the spaces and the way they defended, we wanted to create some situations with Dani there but if we can strengthen the team then we're going to try and do that. Until the market is gone, everything is still open.

on central midfield being an area to look at before the end of the transfer window...
Well, depending on what happens with some other players... As I say again, we are open to discussions, the market can surprise us. [Teams] can come for any of our players in different positions and we have to react, like it happened with Emi. So let's see what happens.

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