Press conference

Every word from Arteta's post-Tottenham presser

Mikel Arteta celebrates us scoring against Tottenham

After recording his 100th Premier League win at the home of our arch-rivals, Mikel Arteta tackled questions from the media about our 3-2 success at Tottenham Hotspur.

He was asked about the tense finale, bouncing back from errors, the title race and the faith he has in his players.

Here is everything he had to say:

on his nerves at the end of the game:
I was praying when Spurs put the ball in our box. It was a really emotional game, a really tough place to come in this stadium and a tough team to play against. We were 3-0 up, in control of the game, then in the second half we were dominating the game and creating chances. Then an individual error happens, that puts a message in your brain. We were dealing with the situations better, another [goal] and then it’s game on. They have the players and the quality to commit a lot of players forward. We had to suffer and react and I’m very pleased that we did.

on David Raya’s error:
It’s part of football. I don’t like the principles we applied at that moment, and after that it can happen. You misjudge the situation, you try to make the pass and you don’t, and you have doubts. They took advantage of that. And then for the penalty, it was another principle inside the box that you cannot do. It’s part of football, but what I loved is that David picked up Gabriel Magalhaes - who is quite heavy - then he was sensational for the last 20 or 25 minutes of the game. That is what I love about the players.

on Arsene Wenger telling him he just has to find a way to win the game:
Yes, he gave me the advice as well of trying not to make it too hard for yourself! You can’t just pretend that you will come here, not suffer, have a comfortable afternoon. That doesn’t happen here.

on the approach:
We had an issue with the high press, we gave so many simple balls away when our distribution wasn’t good enough. The scoreline has an impact, but we looked a real threat as well on the counter. They commit so many players forward, and that forces you to be a bit deeper, but we didn’t really concede much there. Then in the second half in certain moments we should have done better with that.

on the psychology of the title race with kind of win:
We are hopefully going to make it a great one, and the players can be more convinced. To win here two years in a row is extremely difficult. The manner here last year was different, we had to suffer in the second half to win the game. The team has another tool, something else to grab when you come to the bigger stage, you just have to win it.

on Kai Havertz’s performance:
He was sensational in every department today. He wasn’t 100 per cent today, he was ill before the match and was struggling a bit but he still put in the performance that he put in. I thought he was unbelievable today.

on what the team did to bounce back after the disappointments earlier this month:
First of all, it’s how much they want it. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, be a part of the journey. When you are at the highest possible level, you are going to have disappointments. The margins are so small so they’re not always going to go for you, and then it’s how you react to that and face the challenge and opportunity and be brave. I think this team has a lot of courage and determination to make it happen.

on how much faith he has in his players:
I do, but in the last few minutes I was doubting them to be fair! [laughs] They give me no reason to. Would they be ready for Sunday because they have had a lot of minutes and games and emotionally it’s been very demanding, but yesterday I had to stop them in training because they wanted more. That’s a good sign.

on whether we’ve proved we can handle the run-in better than we did last year:
I think so, when you win it is always the case. Last year we didn’t - we went to West Ham and we needed a result and we missed a penalty, and then against Liverpool we conceded in the 91st minute and we are not capable. The judgement is going to be based on the result - if we concede a goal in the last minute and it’s 3-3… the margins are so small so we don’t get carried away with yourself. Just understand that we have to be better and the margin for improvement, and go again against Bournemouth which is going to be really tough.

on whether he can see in his players’ eyes that they’re going to fight until the end:
100 per cent - I have seen that the whole season and they have given me reason to believe that every single day. They have the motivation so I am expecting that they will have a real go.

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