Press conference

Every word of Arteta’s pre-Newcastle presser

Mikel Arteta's pre-Newcastle United press conference took place at Sobha Realty Training Centre on Friday morning, and you can read every word from the boss below.

He was asked for the latest team news, about our response to defeat in Porto, looking to bounce back against Newcastle and more.

Here is everything he had to say on the following subjects...

on Thomas Partey’s availability:
Let’s see. We have another session today and obviously he’s been out for many, many months now and we need to really nail the timing and when he has enough in the tank to compete, but I think he’s very close.

on our other injured players:
It’s the same with Gabby [Jesus] as well, he's done a few things. Alex [Zinchenko] is not far at all, and Tomiyasu is still a little bit more.

on how the squad have reacted to the Porto loss:
What I see is a team that can't wait to play Porto at home now. With that result we have created a fantastic Champions League night of football in front of our people and under the lights where we need to beat them to go through. The task is very clear.

on how we need to bounce back straight away:
That’s it, Porto is gone. We discussed it and we know the things that we did very well and the things that we have to improve. It tells you again about the small margins in the Champions League because we have one of the biggest chances in the 91st minute with Gabi [Magalhaes] - if he scores a goal we are 1-0 up and it’s a fantastic, mature, disciplined performance in the Champions League. However you lose it in the last second and it's something else. That's clear but we cannot lose sight of where we are, what we are doing and the importance of the match tomorrow and the full energy and focus is there.

on wanting a similar reaction to when we lost to Lens but beat Man City three days later:
That is the reaction that we need. We want to create an atmosphere in the stadium from the beginning and I ask everybody to go there tomorrow night with full energy because the team is going to need it. We are in a really good moment in the Premier League and we want to continue to be there and tomorrow's game is vital to achieve that.

on whether he wants a similar atmosphere to the Liverpool home game:
I always want better! I want the team to play better, the crowd to be even more energetic with us in every single ball and that's what we have to be tomorrow.

on whether the post-match celebrations will be similar with a win:
I don’t know if that’ll be outside or inside the dressing room, but let’s win first.

on if there is unfinished business against Newcastle:
With every club there is always a history. There is always what happened before, what is going to happen next. We know the importance of the game we just focus on what we have to do.

on how it feels to be back at Emirates Stadium after three away games:
Yeah it feels like a long time since that Liverpool game, it’s been a while, but we love playing at home and tomorrow is a fantastic game.

on the difference in us compared to our previous game against Newcastle:
We will see tomorrow, them as well have changed a little bit and might have some players who are not available, the same for us. So let’s see, every game is very difference and the approach sometimes away and home can change.

on Newcastle’s approach to the game:
I don’t know, normally they have a very different approach, especially when they don’t have the ball. So it’s two very different set ups (compared to Porto).

on using the Porto defeat for extra motivation:
What happened in another competition is there, but what you cannot deny is what is in your tummy after a defeat. We have to use it in a really powerful way to be better.

on Jurrien Timber and if he will be back before the end of the season:
I really hope so, he’s doing really well, he’s been around some players on the pitch and we are going to start to do some bits with us in the next week or so. Then we need to see how that evolves, his confidence levels, his fitness levels and hopefully then the answer is ‘yes’

on the shape of our squad fitness wise:
Obviously we have missed some big players and we still are but you have to adapt to that. Hopefully we want them back, we need them back as quickly as possible and we know the impact those players are going to have when we have the full squad back.

on answering critics about needing a goalscorer:
No, I think it shows that the team has the ability to score goals and to share the goals and that we have to be consistently, and that's the demands at the end of the season, you're going to have to score certain amount of goals and not concede a certain amount of goals in order to have the best chance to win titles. And that's undeniable.

on why Newcastle are a tough team to beat:
Well, they are a really good team. They are very well coached, they have fantastic players. They have great spirit within the team and they are difficult to beat for us and for many, many opponents.

on his satisfaction with the current position of the team:
Well, I think we are in a really good position and we are what we want to be. I don't know if we can be better, as I said before, I think the most important thing is that we continue to believe to perform at the level that we are doing and we have the squad available. And if we have those two things, we're going to give them a real go.

on whether the team needs that edge to develop as players:
Yes, we certainly can develop a lot of things and those experiences are really relevant to judge whether we were or we weren't, just because of a goal, I don't think it’s that fair, and I was very clear with them about it because I believe that they did a lot of things right. Managing games and things like that we can still improve, but in a year's time, for sure we can improve and we can improve in our build-up phase and we can improve in our restarts and we can improve in many areas.

on whether the team can be nice guys and bad guys:
Yeah, I don't know about bad guy but you have to be tricky, you have to be smart, you have to be street-wise and you have to try to take advantage in every situation. They know that.

on how you coach players' attitude on the pitch:
That's the thing that has to be developed if you don't have it, that's for sure. Because the best teams, the best players, they have that.

on if there has been an improvement in VAR since our game against Newcastle four months ago:
That’s what we all wanted, that at the end the decisions are better. The last stats that came across showed that it was a significant improvement and a lot of decisions were getting right, so hopefully that’s the case and we continue to do that.

on if talking about VAR helped the conversation around it:
I don’t know, I talked the way I felt and I was very straight. I did it in a way that was pretty strong but within the law because I didn’t get charged for that, so that tells the story.

on what the team can learn from the Porto game:
We have to learn but as well we need the game to be managed in the right way and that’s not for us to do, that’s for the referees to do. We leave it for them because it’s obvious what happened on Wednesday and we have to deal with that and we have to be ready for that but in the end it’s their job and they have to manage that.

on the desire for revenge against Newcastle:
Well I could sense in the dressing room straight away that we wanted to play the next day. After that defeat, that feeling that you get, I’m sure that when they come back in an hour or two I’m going to be seeing that desire again.

on how much emotional energy is left in the tank:
A lot because I think a lot of players haven’t played significant minutes this season and important players as well, so I can sense that there are still five or six who have a lot of effort for the team, and the other ones because, after what happened last year, we want to make sure that this season is very different and that brings a lot of energy because we know what we are facing.

on if players off the bench will have more of a part to play:
Yes but we have made changes in the last few games and every game is different in relation to what is happening. Rightly or wrongly, results in the end decide those decisions. We try to make the right call, that’s it.

on how different it feels approaching the run-in compared to last season:
I feel a lot of excitement especially internally because we’re right in the mix and we want to continue to be there because we’re in the Champions League and have a fantastic game to play at the Emirates. Externally probably it’s different because the expectations are focused much more on the other two teams and that’s it.

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