Press conference

Every word from Arteta’s post-Lens presser

Mikel's post-Lens press conference

For the first time this season, Mikel Arteta faced the media after a defeat as we went down to a 2-1 loss at Lens.

The boss was asked about his side’s performance, the latest on Bukayo Saka after his first-half withdrawal, and the preparations for the match.

Here’s a full transcript from the post-match press conference in France…

on Bukayo Saka’s injury:
He tried to backheel the ball in the first half and felt something, it was something muscular and he was uncomfortable to carry on so we had to take him off.

on the seriousness of Saka’s injury:
We don’t know anything more than that, obviously it was big enough not to allow him to continue to play the game and that’s obviously a worry for us.

on if Saka will be fit enough to feature this Sunday:
I have no clue, I don’t know.

on whether the game was affected by the travel disruptions delaying preparations:
No, let’s not make excuses. First of all congratulations to Lens, they are a really good side, really well coached, we knew it was going to be a really tough match, I think we started the game and straight away got a grip of the game, scored the goal, the most difficult thing and we were in total control of the game. In one isolated situation we conceded and it was game on. We started the second half really good again, and have a huge chance with Leo to make it 2-1.

Not only that we were preparing the subs as well, Tomiyasu had a big chance and when they went the other way they just scored the goal. The difference between today and PSV is clear. The difference was in the boxes, we had four or five big chances and didn’t put them away, and we didn’t defend the boxes well enough. It’s true that there were moments in the second half we struggled to be more of a threat in the final third, and attack certain spaces, otherwise they defended those numbers really well and that’s something to take for the next game.

on Saka’s mentality to play for the club every three days:
He was really looking forward to play. Every player [was]. It was a big Champions League night. I told him I painted a picture, the scenario, the type of game we were going to have to face today and they all knew about it. But the Champions League is so difficult to win, very difficult to win away from home and today we take a big lesson as well.

on if there were any regrets starting Bukayo tonight:
No, it was a knock that he picked up the other day, and he was perfectly fine. It wasn’t an action, it was a backheel that can produce that type of injury. Let’s see what the extent of it is, and afterwards, it was too late as well.

on if Bukayo’s injury today was related to any knocks he picked up recently:
They were more knocks than any other thing. The last few that he had, he hasn’t really missed games. We gave him a break against Brentford in the Carabao Cup, and that was all.

on the individual errors tonight:
We want to stop everything and produce as many big possibilities as possible for the team, but they are part of it. Errors happen in football constantly, every three or four seconds there is an error even from the opponent, and we have to adapt to that. I think today that the situation where we had most control, especially after the first goal and there we started to dominate.

We had two big chances to score before them, and then the game turned around in that situation when they played around us, and we defended in the box really poorly. That’s what happens – big teams punish you and we didn’t punish them in the way that we punished PSV, and that was the difference in the game.

on if it was disappointing to see David Raya’s error in distribution for the goal:

on if the atmosphere had an effect during tonight’s game:
Obviously, the atmosphere I imagine is a big energy boost. We knew that they were one of the best, I knew that since I played in this country that it [the atmosphere] is one of the best in the country. It was great to play in and embrace that moment and play in that atmosphere. In a lot of moments, we quietened the crowd, but after we gave them life in those two situations where we conceded the goals.

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