Press conference

Every word from Mikel Arteta's pre-Everton presser

For the final time this season, Mikel Arteta took his seat in the press conference room at the Sobha Realty Training Centre to handle his pre-match media duties before our finale against Everton.

With the Premier League title still up for grabs, he revealed his mindset heading into the crunch clash with the Toffees, as well as discuss how he'll keep up with the Manchester City v West Ham game, his former clubs being involved in the final shake-up, summer plans and much more.

Here is everything he had to say:

on how his nerves might be this weekend:
It’s one of the biggest weeks for many of us, and certainly now is the most important moment. I’m really excited and can't wait for Sunday to be in front of us, and obviously I’m very optimistic as well with the possible outcome.

on whether he had to lift the players after City’s win on Tuesday:
The hope was there and it didn't happen and now we have to do our job which is going to be tough because Everton are in a really good moment, so we're going have to prove again that we can be better than the opponent and win the game. Then we have to wish for the best and for West Ham to have a really good day and help us to fulfil our dream. That's what we're hoping for.

on if he had spoken to David Moyes:
No I don't think I need to do that, but he's been instrumental and so important in my career, not only as a footballer but as a person as well. He could help us to fulfil our dream and my personal dream to win the Premier League. That would be unbelievable and always be in my memory.

on the players keeping up with City v West Ham:
The only thing that we have discussed is giving ourselves the opportunity to live a beautiful day on Sunday where the dream is still alive and is possible, and it’s football. Once we are there, we just have to live the moment and play like every single week and understand that for that dream to happen, we have to win. Then we have to hope again for West Ham to help us to achieve that dream, but that part is on us and is the only thing that we can focus on.

on if we don’t win the league what he’ll be most proud of:
I can’t think like that. I just think that we are going to win the game and hopefully something beautiful is going to happen. Let's wait.

on if he senses excitement around the squad:
I do and around the building. We are in the last day of the season playing for the Premier League. The Premier League trophy hasn't been at Emirates Stadium and that was built almost 20 years ago, so that's a long, long time. So yes, we have to be very optimistic. The trophy is going to be there and it's possible. We have to do our duties, and then we have to wait and see what happens.

on no team ever overhauling the Premier League leaders on the final day: 
That's not going to change you mean? It's a probability - if something happens then it’s more probable that something else can happen. Let’s wish that is the case.

on Man City wobbling on the final day in previous seasons:
It's really difficult to beat any opponent in the Premier League and when something is at stake as well, that task becomes more difficult. That’s not in our control, that’s for sure.

on many saying that City have one hand on the title:
We all know that they are a little bit closer because that’s one game less and they have to play at home, but they're going play a really tough opponent. We have suffered this season and over the last few seasons, it is really tough to beat them. I'm sure they're going to be very at it and hopefully they can help us to achieve our dream.

on if he has spoken to Pep Guardiola:

on if he thinks Man City will lose:
Lose or draw, this is what we need. That’s for sure.

on how they can be impossible to stop:
If I don’t believe that today, imagine how much I couldn’t believe in August. From August, 38 games against Manchester City and what they’ve done in the last 20 years as a club, with what we’ve done in the last 20 years in the Premier League, we’d have zero chance. We cannot start like this. We have to believe, for sure. 

on former clubs Man City and Everton plus Moyes being involved in our fate:
That’s the beauty of this industry, that you come across people that you had experiences with in your life and it’s super important for you personally, and now you need something from them. Hopefully it will happen. 

on if the season has been a success:
Yes but we are here to win. That’s my aim and that’s the only thing I’m thinking of. 

on next month’s vote on abolishing VAR:
I haven’t been part of those meetings, so I want to have a meeting with the club next week and understand why these points are coming across and what happened in the last few weeks to get to this position. Then we will decide what our position is as a club and see what happens. First of all, I want to understand because I haven’t been part of those meetings, so they will explain to us what happened, the points being discussed, the reasons why and the general feeling. From there we will make our own decision. 

on if he can complain about Tottenham’s application against Man City:
No and you can never complain about an opponent. I can complain about what we haven’t done to have 91, 93 or 95 points. That’s the only thing that we can do. 

on if someone will be monitoring the City score for him on Sunday:
I think 60,000 people?! All the staff, assistant coaches, plus all their families behind their phones, so I think that's enough! 

on how it will impact the atmosphere:
It will be different. I lived it as a player a few times and you just have to focus on what you have to do. You understand with certain reactions what is happening, but stick to focusing on what we have to do. 

on if he plans to discuss his contract with the club this summer:
That’s something that after the season or whenever the right time is, we will talk and sit down. 

on if it’s important to get that done early:
What's important is to win now and keep believing that we can continue to win. That’s the important thing. 

on if Sunday will change his feelings going ahead:
No, I think everything is relevant. I think whatever happens will be very emotional on the day so probably it’s not the right moment to make any conclusions on that, but afterwards we will have time to reflect. We have to go through the season and what we have done to come to the point we have done and try to understand why. We have to find the why and how we are going to do the next bit. That’s more important now.

on Man City’s 115 charges not being resolved:

That’s something for the authorities to manage, it’s not for us. If they are playing, it means they can play and they are entitled to play, and that’s it.

on where his thought process comes from about wanting to improve:

I need a few weeks to answer that question! I think in pre-season it probably will be a better time to do that. It’s impossible to evolve, be better, to understand why the good things that are happening are actually happening, who is involved, how we made those decisions and try to understand continuously how we’re going to get better and then be there, and have to feel it, and the right people have to be in the same mindset. It’s really important to find that alignment first in understanding why it happened and how we’re going to move forward.

on when he felt the belief that this moment was possible:

I think it’s something that happened gradually. You see the signs, we have a lot of stability from ownership and the board, then you start to make very clear decisions strategically in regards to the squad, then to the staff. Then you see how people work every single day and how much they want it, and you start to believe that something special is happening here. You start to evolve the squad, you have to start bringing in players and that’s very contagious. 

You get excited because it’s in the building, you have to get better, one gets better and then it’s like a snowball. It starts to get bigger and bigger, you start to perform, to win and win and win, and realise that the gap isn’t that big, and there’s something to achieve. On top of that, you have the people that we have, supporting us every single day home and away with that belief and that generates unbelievable energy for the club.

on if there was a moment when he sensed the change:

It was probably last season, definitely. When you see yourself especially in the first part of the season when you take off and you’re playing the way we’re playing that we can reach that level. Now the question is can we maintain it for 10 games, 30, 38, for two seasons, for three seasons, can we actually win it? That’s something else that we have to prove that we can do.

on his confidence in the team to keep challenging for titles:

I think that assessment has to be done after this season and understand where we are, and then you have to look at the picture and say I feel it. It’s very important, you have to still tweak things and move things and move people or players whatever it is, you really need to have that feeling. I think we all had that feeling from pre-season and bringing the players early, we have a chance here.

on how important it is to do business early in the summer:

That’s the ideal scenario, every club wants that. We want that as coaches and for the players especially you want that, and then for the team and the environment. When you do that, something clicks, something starts to build there and that’s really important because it starts to give you momentum. We have the Euros this season and Copa America, and it might be a different summer.

on if he is speaking to the board about not resting on our laurels:
It’s something that we all know. Given the choice, it’s clear what we all want to do, it’s not the manager or the coach.

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