After his team made it three wins from three at the start of the campaign by beating Bournemouth 3-0, Mikel Arteta was in a buoyant mood as he sat down for his post-match press conference.
The boss tackled questions on the game, moving to the top of the table, transfer activity and even William Saliba's new chant, and here is everything he said:
on the performance:
I am very happy. It’s really difficult to come here and win 3-0. So credit to the boys, the way we played, especially the way we started the game and continued to play. It’s not easy and we have a good example when they played Aston Villa how different the game was and how different the game became in some parts of the second half as well. At the same time, we have to look at ourselves and in many areas we can still get much better.
on being top of the table:
It’s just three games. It doesn’t mean anything, there any still other teams that have to play. What it means is that we have managed to win three games, that we are scoring goals, keeping clean sheets, the team is playing and performing well, competing really well, but it’s about Monday, start training again and start to get better at the other things that we have to do as well, and focus on Fulham.
on Granit Xhaka playing higher up the pitch:
The way I want to play, there are certain spaces that have to be occupied at all times, and as you can see, there is a lot of rotation in that unit, with Alex, with Martinelli, with him. But he has the ability to do that, he has the capacity to do that. He arrived today in some really good positions again, and it’s the evolution of the player.
on Alex Zinchenko’s role:
He gives us the flexibility to attack in different ways in relation to what the opponent wants to do, wants to prevent and makes spaces that we want to exploit. It’s something good to have in the team.
on what Gabriel Jesus has brought to the group:
New confidence, a new spark and that winning mentality that he has and the way he competes for every ball and the way he transmits his energy and his quality to the rest of the team, and you could see that again today. He was involved in the goals, he didn’t score, but he had a goal disallowed, but he was involved in the action.
on Jesus’ attitude:
Yes [he will keep people grounded], because he knows how hard it is to win in football, how much you have to put into it. He knows he’s still young, but he has experienced it and I think he is a really good role model for the rest of the boys.
on William Saliba’s goal:
We’ve been training that all week! It very much surprised me. Individual talent, a moment of quality - I don’t know how you’re going to call it but I don’t think anybody expected it and it was great. I’m so happy for the boy.
on whether Zinchenko was telling him not to shoot:
Probably! Don’t shoot with your left from there - it was probably better to stay mute!
on whether the start to the season takes the pressure off the transfer window:
We don’t like reacting, we like to get the players we want and we believe will make a big impact on the team and if we can do that, we will try to do that. If we cannot, we will stay with the players and the squad that we have.
on there being no fan pressure to get more players in:
It hasn’t changed but we know where we are short and where we have to add more firepower. If we can do it, we will do it.
on Saliba’s all-round performance:
He got a clean sheet as well, which is the most important thing for a defender. If you score a goal, that’s a bonus but they’re doing what they need to do, to keep that clean sheet every game.
on whether he’ll be singing his new chant on the way home:
The boys are already singing it in the dressing room!
on potential exits:
There are a few players that we have to leave out of the squad, unfortunately. It’s painful but we’ll try to bring the team and the squad that is in the best condition to give us the chance to win the game.
on seeing the progress since his first game in charge at the same venue:
It takes time to get something. From the players that we have today to the players that we had at the time, it’s been a massive massive change, and I’m happy. Everyone feels more attached to the team, the club and the way we’re playing, and we’re winning football matches.
on whether it has taken longer than expected to reach this point:
I’ll keep that to myself!
on three different players wearing the armband today:
They are the leaders I decided to name captains, and they’re the ones the team decided should be in the leadership team. I’m delighted we have very different characters, different ways of being and ways of thinking and I think they all represent the club in a really good way.
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