Press conference

Every word from Mikel's post-Aston Villa presser

Mikel Arteta during the game against Aston Villa

After seeing us fall to our first Premier League defeat in 2024, Mikel Arteta faced the media in his post-match press conference.

He answered questions on the state of the title race, where the game changed and the mood heading into our trip to Munich.

Here is everything he had to say:

on whether he believes there will be more twists and turns in the title race:
That’s a possibility, that’s the reality right now. It was the same a few months back, we knew that this moment could come. Now it’s about reacting and keep believing and doing what we can.

on managing the emotions after a defeat:
If one result is going to do that then we are not strong enough, that’s very simple. We had one of the best performances in the first half that we had this season by far against a really good team, it should have been three or four or more. It didn’t happen in the second half, momentum shifted, we could not control and generate what we did in the first half.

We struggled, we conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game so congratulations to the opponent and now is the moment to stand up as a leader, as a character to make yourself count because when you win and win and win and win for four months, it’s very simple to do it. The moment is now.

on his confidence in the characters in the dressing room:
We don’t have any other solutions, if you want to win championships, if you want to be there in the Champions League when you have these moments, you have to stand up. If not then that means you don’t have quality that is very necessary and right now is a big test for us.

on why he started Trossard over Martinelli:
Because I am the manager and I decide the line-up

on the change in momentum in the second half:
We were struggling to bring the ball and do what we did in the first half. We lacked a lot of composure, we rushed things with the ball, we never had enough sequences in areas that we wanted like we did in the first half. Credit to them as well, we lacked a lot in the second half and the game became more stretched, and more even without a lot of things happening really. Obviously when we conceded the goals that was a big blow and the second one even bigger in the manner in which it happened.

on whether we were lacking in energy compared to Aston Villa:
Yes, the result is a key indicator as well. When you score a goal, you have to dig in. We made a change to bring more energy but that was just in the moment where those two moments occur and that’s it. When you lose you have to recognise the quality of the opponent and move forward.

on lifting the mood ahead of facing Bayern Munich:
After losing any game, frustrated and sad. But as I said, we have a beautiful opportunity, an opportunity that hasn’t happened at this club for 14 years to get to the semi-finals of the Champions League, so it cannot come in a better moment.

on why some mistakes have appeared in recent matches:
When the opponent capitalises on those errors. Sometimes those errors have been there but they didn’t score and weeks have gone by and nobody’s talked about it. They’re a part of football but unfortunately they capitalised as well on that and it’s certainly something to improve to give us a better chance to win the game.

on Manchester City having the title in their hands:
I don’t know but when you look at the schedule of the games that we have to play every three days, it’s crazy. So this can happen to any team, it has happened in the past and we cannot control that at all. We can control how we are going to be now, prepare from tomorrow to give ourselves the best chance to go to Munich with big belief and win the game to go into the semi-finals.

on why he took Martin Odegaard off:
Because he was feeling something.

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