Press conference

Arteta's press conference: full transcript

Mikel Arteta faced the media via a virtual press conference after our first behind closed doors at Emirates Stadium on what was a hugely positive day for the club.

The head coach began by sharing his joy at Bukayo Saka's new contract, then went on to praise the side for their third consecutive win, paying tribute to top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and congratulating Cedric on a memorable debut.

Read on for a full transcript:
On what Saka’s contract extension says about the club…
Well, I think he is the player that represents every value that this football club stands for. He’s come through the academy, so big credit to everyone who has been involved in the process of developing the player and the person that he is today. He’s come into my hands, our hands, really mature, really focused and really well developed in his knowledge about what he needs to do in the game, and it was really important for me to keep him and have big belief in him. From now on, I will be demanding more because he can give us more and more hopefully in the future.
On whether this game was a good example of his philosophy…
Yeah, it’s part of the process that we have to respect and we can give them so much in certain moments. It’s been a really difficult season since I joined with the amount of games that we’ve had in December and then the break that we’ve had in lockdown, but they are so willing and they are completely onboard with what we are trying to do. A lot of things that happened today will convince them even more that this is the right direction for us to take as a team, and we still have to work on many things like the way we handle the game in certain moments. We cannot give anything to the opponent and we gave that again tonight, but overall I’m really happy with the attitude and as well with their understanding of the game and what the game requires for them to control it and exploit the opponent as much as we can.
On Dani Ceballos’ performance and whether he will sign permanently…
Both clubs have been in communication. I really like Dani and what he brings to the team. When I joined he wasn’t available because he had a difficult injury, but he’s understanding what we’re trying to do really, really nicely and he has big personality to play and take the ball in any area of the field and give us the continuity that we need as a team to control the games better, but as well without the ball. The running that he’s putting in, the tackles, every time with the interceptions, his desire to win that ball back and help the team, he’s improved so much and he looks a really good player at the moment.

On whether he expected Cedric to come on and score...
Yeah I said in the past that he probably has the best end product of the guys that we have, it's one of the main qualities that he has. He showed that tonight as well with the way he can finish. I'm so happy for the boy. He's brought great energy and a lot of positivity to the group since he joined, even though it's been really difficult for him with injuries and the fracture that he had in his nose. I'm glad for him. He made his debut, he scored a goal and we got the three points so it was a perfect night for him.
On how many goals Auba can score for Arsenal...
Hopefully at least another 100 but I don't know, I'm not a magician. What he's achieved today, to be the (fastest) to score 50 (in the Premier League) in the history of this football club, tells you everything about his mentality and the way he works every day on his finishing, on trying to help the team. He's decided to be better and better every day. So hopefully we can keep him here for a longer period.
On how talented Auba is and how important he is for us...
A player that is able to score as many goals as he's done in that short space of time tells you everything about the importance that he has for us. We need players that can make the difference at any moment in the game every three days, in different competitions, and that's a big test for him. He's done that at different clubs, he's willing to stay with him, he's really happy where he is and can see what we're trying to do. Hopefully he can evolve as well in some parts of his game that in my opinion he can improve. We are pushing him every day towards that.
On whether Granit Xhaka has come full circle from his difficulties...
Absolutely. He's a player whose commitment goes beyond anything normal. He leaves every drop of blood on that football pitch every day and he does the same in training. For me, he's a great example to any other team-mate, the way he looks after himself and lives his profession. I'm really happy that we could convince him to stay, give him another opportunity, learn from the mistake that he made and as well appreciate the player and the person that we have at the club, and support them. When someone has a difficult moment, we are right behind them. We can give them another chance.
On why Matteo Guendouzi isn't in the squad and what he has to do to get back in it...
It's the same reasons as last week.

On whether Guendouzi's not showing what he wants to see from him...
Things have to change and nothing has changed.

On whether anything could happen with Auba's contract before the end of the season...
I don't know, I leave that to the football club and the people that look after those types of contract. Auba knows really well what my thoughts are towards him and the project that I want to create, and how much he's part of that. After that, it's not in my hands.
On him being confident about Saka signing his contract...
Because I knew!

On Auba still being quite a long way away from signing...
I don't know, I am positive that we can keep him here for many years but things have to progress.

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