After touching down in Spain, Mikel Arteta headed straight to Sevilla’s Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan home for his pre-match press conference.
He was asked about his goalkeeping situation, Bukayo Saka captaining the side and lessons learnt from the Lens result, and paid a touching tribute to Jose Antonio Reyes who represented both clubs with distinction.
Here is everything he had to say:
on if we will see the best of Kai Havertz in a competition he’s already succeeded in:
That’s certainly one of the reasons, plus quality and the number of things he has already done in his career at his age, and then to improve the starting XI as well because he has tremendous quality, and that is going to help us to be better.
on if it is unrealistic that people expect him to be constantly changing his goalkeeper:
I don't know, it depends on where that is coming from. Is it someone from football when errors are part of football and mistakes happen from defenders, for strikers and for goalkeepers? For sure, no.
on if David Raya is suffering in the spotlight:
I haven’t seen that at all.
on if there’s added pressure as a goalkeeper:
There is a pressure of playing for big clubs where you have to win and you have to be at your best, and you have someone next to you that is pushing you every single day. But we can go player by player or position by position - you will tell me what's happening with the left-back, the holding midfielder - you’ve asked Jorginho a question already - and Gabriel Jesus is here and there’s another question on that. That’s the debate and that’s the beauty of the game as well and the fact that you have a lot of options is going to make those talks more frequent.
on young players like Bukayo Saka being part of the leadership group:
I think is really important for them because the role that they have in our way of playing, in our team and in our club has to be mirrored with the leadership level that they should have around the team to make it grow. I think it's been a perfect environment; we have a really good mixture of players, teams and experiences in that group and it’s going to be a really valuable time to spend with those guys to understand what happens behind the scenes as well.
on if Aaron Ramsdale is part of the squad:
on if there are concerns over racist abuse tomorrow night following incidents in Sevilla's last home game:
Sevilla reacted in a really strong and quick way - great. Let's enjoy a beautiful football atmosphere, it doesn’t get much better than here and I’m just hopeful that we can only talk about football and enjoy that atmosphere tomorrow.
on what lessons we learnt from our last Champions League away game with Lens:
There were a few from that game, especially that in the Champions League you cannot give anything away. Both boxes are tremendously important to have control of the game, and there are going to be moments that can get away very quickly. You have to understand why this is happening and how the game went away from us, but there was a lot in our side. To lose the game the way we did, even though looking about two times, we didn’t deserve that result.
on what the boss remembers about former teammate Jose Antonio Reyes:
I have great memories. He was my roommate and we spent quite a lot of time together. He was a fantastic character with a very special personality and had an incredible football talent. At that age, I can’t recall a better player than him, he had everything. He played for both clubs and he is part of our history in a big way because he was part of the Invincibles as well. Hopefully he’s up there and feeling proud of both clubs, and tomorrow will be a very special night for him.
on why our away form in Europe has been up and down in recent years:
The opponents are really good and to win away from home is always difficult, but to win away from home in Europe, you see a shift in all the top teams that they are not the same results. Margins become critical and the emotional state of the team in certain moments goes through difficult ones, so that’s absolutely key.
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