Press conference

Every word from Mikel Arteta's pre-Man Utd presser

Ahead of our trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference to discuss the huge game.

He spoke to journalists at the Sobha Realty Training Centre about various topics, including the state of the title race, injury news, Joringho's new contract and much more.

Here is everything he had to say:

on Tomiyasu missing training and Saka’s availability:
We have a few doubts that tomorrow can resolve because we have another training session so we will have to wait and see. There are doubts over the names that you discussed.

on Jorginho signing a new deal:
I think there are no questions about his contribution to a team, the way he feels about his teammates, about the club and the way we play. He’s someone who makes everybody better - that’s his main quality. He’s still hungry, he wants to win, he wants to win with us, he's happy here and his family is happy here, so for us it was a really easy decision.

on him being Mikel’s eyes and ears on the pitch:
He is a very important player for all the coaches because his game understanding and the way he communicates and coaches people is excellent. You need those types of players but on top of that I think as a role model, it’s very difficult to find somebody better than him. When he needs to be at it and serious and drive people with him he does it, and when it needs fun and a relaxing atmosphere, he is one of the best. It's a good combination.

on being offered the current title situation at the start of the season:
I would take that pen and sign it.

on what the emotions will be if we don’t win the league:
My brain always takes me to the players lifting the Premier League, that's what my brain is doing at the moment. I just follow my brain and my gut and this is how I feel, and this is the way that I want everybody to think and hopefully we can achieve it.

on Fulham’s kite-flying team bonding before playing Man City:
The power of team bonding, nobody knows what it is but sometimes you get amazing results with it. I've been in teams that have struggled to win a game and go out for dinner or do an activity and start an unbelievable run, so I'm very positive that that's going to happen to Fulham!

on his favourite team bonding activities:
We’ve done a few, we've done trips. David Moyes used to take us around the US and it was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life.

on whether it is tough psychologically not being in control of the title outcome:
It’s literally a very clear situation that you have to focus and be determined to do what you have to do to be in the best possible position. That's very simple and clear, and that's what we are doing. 

on if he has to prepare the players for the outcome of not winning the title:
We have to think that it’s going to work. We try to be better than our opponents and beat them. The final outcome is something else. At the moment it’s not in our control.

on the form Manchester United are in:
I don’t think about it, every game has a different context. We know the difficulty and the history when you look at what we’ve done over there, so we’re going to have to be at our best to earn the right to win the game.

on our record at Old Trafford:
We know what we need to do but first of all we have to perform at a really high level to deserve to win the match. That’s what the focus is.

on what he will be doing when Man City play on Saturday:
We’re going to be training. I don’t know if there is something we can control but I’m sure people will be connected to it.

on going head-to-head with City two years in a row:
We are on the journey to try to catch them and be better than them, which is the aim and what we have to do. It’s an inspiration to have this level of opposition and it makes you better if someone challenges you to go further and further.

on how difficult it is to beat City:
The history of City, they were winning trophies and winning the Premier League. They’ve been on an unbelievable journey over the last 10 to 15 years, but we want to change that. We’re trying to do everything that we can to improve and get better and better.

on if Old Trafford is similar to Anfield in terms of the atmosphere to play in:
It is different but the difficulty there is the quality of the opposition, the quality of the individuals and the manager. It brings a lot of challenges but we’ve been in very difficult stadiums this season and done very well so hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.

on personal memories of playing away at United:
I don’t know, I think now we are preparing the game and trying to visualise the game that we’re going to play on Sunday. We put ourselves in a really positive context. That’s what we try to do.

on our home 3-1 win against United this season:
It was a game with a lot of alternatives. It was a difficult one and there were small margins because they had a huge moment when the goal was disallowed. Then we turned the game around and scored two very good goals, so that tells you the quality of them and what we’re going to have to do to beat them.

on if he sympathises with Erik ten Hag:
For sure because, at this level, that’s the reality. The margins are so small and momentum shifts in relation to an action sometimes in the game, sometimes in a season because you need that moment for something to click to start an unbelievable run, so of course I do.

on Jorginho’s influence:
First of all, as a player on the pitch, he’s a phenomenal player and gives us so much. For the rest of the qualities that he has to bring to the team, to the squad, to the club, to our culture, I think we are delighted to have him.

on Jorginho’s character:
It’s impossible not to like him in any way, as he’s a super special person. A great family man with a lot of experiences and he knows how to talk to people, he knows how to inspire people and certainly he knows very well how to drive a team and be part of a really important team.

on Mikel’s own emotions with two games to go:
Focus - focus on what we have to do. I’m determined to do what we have to do and at the same time, very enthusiastic and excited and enjoying the moment.

on where he visualises City dropping points:
That’s something that’s not in our hands. I’m telling you how I’m feeling, the thoughts that come into my head and what is driving my energy and my purpose right now is that. That ambition and that objective that is so good.

on how to prevent us from getting too high or too low:
Being focused and determining what we have to do is the only thing that we can do, which is a lot because there’s still a lot to play for against very difficult opponents. we know the turns that can happen in this league, You just have to look at the history.

on how he feels about City being such a juggernaut:
You have to keep improving and try to be better than them. When you face them head-to-head and in a long, long season with a lot of demands in this league, but we know and this season maybe it’s not been as high as we already expected because I think as well, the league has gone to a different level, something I haven’t seen before in my opinion. That’s where we are.

on if United have extra motivation against us due to recent referee decisions:
I don’t know how they are feeling about this but we have enough to think about, like how we’re going to beat them and what we have to be to be better than them.

on if he has spoken to Bernt Leno or Willian at Fulham:

on his first game at Old Trafford as Arsenal manager and the evolution since then:
It moves so fast and so many things happen daily that you don’t tend to remember much about what happened three or four years ago. It’s true that it’s been an unbelievable journey in every sense with a lot of changes and how we have come far from where we were, but there’s still a lot to come.

on if he still has to psych the players up for big games:
Sunday is not related about lead or not lead. It’s about moments, it’s about trying to transmit certain ideas or bring an analogy into a situation that we want to face or provoke but, yes obviously the team now is differently prepared to a few years ago.

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