Mikel Arteta was in a triumphant mood when he met the media after our 1-0 win over Manchester City.
The boss masterminded our first league victory over last season’s treble-winners since 2015, and the victory lifted us above City, into second place going into the international break.
After the game he was asked about the victory, refereeing decisions, the latest on Bukayo Saka’s injury and David Raya’s distribution. Here’s a full transcript:
on the win:
A great feeling obviously, you could sense it’s been so many years without beating them and today we have beaten in my opinion without a question of a doubt the best team in the world, and we've done it in a great way. There were moments we had to suffer, but as well moments we showed real determination, desire and belief to beat them, so really happy.
on sending a statement after ending the poor Premier League record against Man City:
Certainly sends a message to the team, keep believing in what they are doing, they are a fantastic group of players, the way they try, the understanding, the chemistry that they have between them you sense it and you need it to beat that, today again really proud, I was proud on Wednesday when we lost the game, and I am really proud again today as well to be part of that team.
on controlling emotions in big games:
Yes and especially because they are moments that are constantly in question, asking questions and provoking you. The crowd wants you to go and go and go, and it’s what the crowd they do, the crowd do that and we don’t go, and we have to manage that. We have to understand emotionally it’s not easy, it’s not easy to chase 15, 20 passes and you have to be able to do that and then have the courage to play. You don’t want to play against this team that just gives the ball to them every single time and I thought the players were excellent,
on the atmosphere in the dressing room at full-time:
They were all dancing and super happy, they are now on international break. The mood is always much better, and the ones who are not involved are going to have a few days off, and it sends everybody until the game against Chelsea away with the right spirit and the right emotion.
on Kovacic not being sent off:
When I saw the action live, it looked like a big challenge but I haven’t seen the replay. I just want to enjoy the win, we will talk about it and understand we have to do something about it but thankfully we managed to win the game.
on the hard work in training paying off:
The players have to stand up there and execute against players that are top quality. We gave them something in the first two minutes with the corner and they almost scored a goal, you can not give them anything, they can still earn it because they are top quality and can produce those moments in any moment. W have discussed a lot about that, it is stressful because they change constantly, the spaces, rotations, they are constantly threatening you in certain areas and you have to be really really aware of what they are doing to try to match it up, and with the ball as well, because they are provoking you with certain things. You have to be patient and for that bit today was top because I knew the crowd could react in the way that it did. It’s what we demanded to do and what we needed to do and we did it better in the second half, we did it much better and I think it was really helpful.
on if today’s result has lifted a psychological barrier against Manchester City:
I don’t know if it was a barrier. Obviously, it’s something that we needed to go through. To beat them, first of all, you have to lose against them. We have to lose probably the way we lost at the Etihad, because we lost in two different ways, last season when we were the better team in the first half and then we conceded the goal after Tomiyasu’s backpass and De Bruyne scoring. But the team showed a real maturity today, and that maturity comes from experiences and sometimes you need that to become a better team.
on Tomiyasu’s involvement as an attacker in our winning goal:
I just told him that! I said Tomi, you know they put Doku there in the first moment. After they changed him to the other side, and we made the changes straight away, and then we see him as a left winger chasing the keeper. To be fair, the subs were excellent again. They were involved in the goal, but they brought so much physicality, energy and quality to the team.
on whether Bukayo Saka will be joining up with England:
No, he could not make it. He has not had a single training session, so he will be out. He’s not available to play football at the moment.
on what happened after the full-time whistle between our staff and the Manchester City players:
I haven’t seen anything.
on Gabriel Martinelli’s impact off the bench:
He’s been saying for a few weeks that I was going to be there for City. Obviously, we were saying that Gabi it would be too early for you, and yesterday he said, "boss I told you, I’m going to be ready for this." And it happened after 30 minutes Leo felt something in his hamstring. So, when I turned around, he was already ready, to go with his kit, and saying "boss, I’m ready to go". He’s just got the joy of a kid, his mentality is incredible at his age, and it’s just a joy to have him because today he could change the game and he was really helpful for us to win.
on concerns over David Raya’s distribution:
It’s my fault, all my fault. They can pull me up on it because I asked him to do that, especially against this team, you just have to do other things and you’ll get in big trouble. I think he was excellent, the way he dominated his box, the way he came out for crosses and set-pieces, the height that he played at. He’s got big ones, because the crowd go like this with the players. I’ve seen it, the players start to kick balls everywhere and I said to him, "you don’t do that, make sure you don’t do it, and he didn’t do it." At the end, he got rewarded because the team started the game that we wanted to play much better, so a big compliment to him.
on our defensive display and keeping a clean sheet:
I was thinking about that in the 92nd minute, saying that we haven’t had that many [clean sheets], and against the best team in the world, we managed to do it. The application and the love that we had today for defending was what we needed, was in every player and it was a necessity. If you concede against them, you know afterwards it’s extremely difficult because they don’t give much away. So, it was really important.
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