Press conference

Arteta's virtual press conference: full transcript

Mikel Arteta took part in another virtual press conference shortly after our 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

Our battling display, the rise of Nicolas Pepe and the impact of Kieran Tierney were among the topics our head coach discussed.

Read on for a full transcript:

on showing character...
Yes, I am very pleased with the result. This is a really difficult place to come and win and. After conceding so late, that reaction is not easy. We went for it again, we scored the goal and now we're back at Wembley.

on putting bad form behind us...
We have to bear in mind that we played four away games, I think we're the only team that has done that. With Manchester City and all the things that happened over there, then the way we threw the game away at Brighton, it was a very different game. I am very pleased today, I never fault the effort of the players. I am really happy about how the front players are going about the defensive job, we still have big gaps to improve in many areas but I am really happy today.

on Dani Ceballos' winner...
We have to use the subs in a clever way because they are so key to try and win the games. The games are becoming really long and today the reserves did what they had to do.

on what pleased Mikel the most about the performance...
I think the attitude and the commitment of every single player that was involved in the game or that was waiting for his opportunity. There were really good moments where we played and we did the things I asked them to do and the way we dealt with Sheffield United's play... They are really good at what they do, the way they commit people forward, the way they play in the second phases, the way they defend outside the box. I knew there were some phases that we were going to suffer and how we dealt with that... I am really, really pleased.

on importance of successes in the Emirates FA Cup...
I think every win gives you a bit of credit and a margin as well and gives them some encouragement. At the end of the day the results dictate the spirit and the happiness of the team but it is much better than it was when we lost against Brighton so hopefully we can have some momentum. We can play at home as well. It's been a while since we did it so hopefully we can get another win.

on David Luiz's injury...
It was his ankle, he will get assessed tomorrow but he was in pain.

on Kieran Tierney...
He's been training incredibly hard though [the lockdown for] COVID-19, it's been a tough moment for him in the last six or seven months and to move here from a different city, a different football club. He is a kid with an incredible attitude and he is so willing to learn and to put in everything he has. He has a massive heart and I am delighted to have him in the team. He's a kid who is going to get better and better and better.

on the late goal…
We go to the last minute, it doesn’t matter what happens, we go for it and our desire is always to win. That’s the only aim of this team and it’s the mindset of every player that is involved in the team.

on Pepe showing positive signs in his development…
I’m very excited about what he can bring (in the future) and what he’s bringing to the team this season. I think he’s made a click and I think he realises what he needs to do for the team when we don’t have the ball. I’m so pleased today, you’ve seen his defensive actions were incredible with what he’s doing, and then with the ball he gives us that creativity and flair that we need and big teams need. He’s always unpredictable with what can happen when he’s got the ball at his feet, so I think he’s [heading] in the right direction.

on whether Pepe has been a 'project' to him…
I really liked him from the past. I didn’t know him personally, but I think he is a player with incredible potential, but he needs to be decisive in every game and he needs to take care of moments in the game when he disconnects himself a little bit. He cannot do that, and I will be very persistent with him to try to change that because at his best, he can make the difference for the team.

on whether Pepe has needed a psychological click…
It’s very important to try and understand a player and find out what his feelings are, how hard it’s been to adapt to a new country and a language that he doesn’t understand. He’s very willing, he’s such a nice boy and he’s always smiling, always positive around everybody. He’s a bit of a free spirit, but that’s good! We need all kinds of characters in the team and now he’s showing his commitment to us.

on whether Pepe feels more comfortable at Arsenal now…
I don’t know how he was feeling before, we just try to produce the right amount for players and try to treat them a little bit individually for their needs, and hopefully we are in the right direction with Nico and that he can feel our total support. The only aim from us basically is to try and improve him and make him decisive for the team.

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