After guiding us to a 1-0 win at Everton at Goodison Park, Mikel Arteta tackled plenty of questions from the media who were keen to get his thoughts on the victory.
The boss was asked about the impact of his subs, an injury update on Gabriel Martinelli, why David Raya made his debut and much more.
Here is everything he had to say:
on winning our first game at Everton since 2017:
Really happy, extremely happy with the performance and the way we played. It was six years that we were unable to do that. That was the challenge in front of us and the opportunity as well, and we looked at everything that we needed to do, and did that on the pitch. I think we dominated the game from start to finish – we created a lot of chances, a lot of dominance in the game, we gave nothing away. And to do that here, it’s a big compliment to the players because it’s not easy at all to do that.
on the fine margins that won the game:
We work on everything, every manager has to. When you prepare for the game, you have to try to expose the weaknesses of the opponent and hide yours. That’s the outcome of what we try and to do, and then the result came. We found openings in many ways and we were neat enough in the last pass, the last action and the last finish to do it, and credit to them as well, because they defended the box really, really well. The game should have probably been very different if Martinelli’s goal was allowed. It wasn’t and that’s it, but I’m super happy today.
on Martinelli’s injury:
He felt it after the action for the run on the goal, and normally he’s not one of the players to have muscular issues, but he had to come off, so let’s see.
on the short corner tactics we had during the game:
We prepare every situation in a way that we have to keep for ourselves. We don’t want to give anything, as you can imagine, to the opponents, but we try to practice set-pieces. That’s something huge for us as well, because we generate that many, we are in the final third a lot and we have to be really good at it, because it’s a way to win the game for all the clubs.
on it being the third game in a row that one of our substitutes has scored:
No-one is guaranteed a spot, I don’t guarantee it. You are here to perform at the highest level and to contribute with our best capacity to win games, and that’s what we have to do. It’s not different for anybody and we set ourselves those standards, whatever happens externally, it’s never going to be bigger than that. That’s the end that we have.
on us managing to control the crowd:
I know this crowd really well and you could feel it. There are moments when they lift you and the game changes and the momentum shifts and you have to try and stay very far away from that game because when they get on that rollercoaster they are a really good team. It is really difficult to get out of that and I think we’ve done that today.
on why he opted to start Raya in this game:
The same rationale that Fabio played here or that Eddie played ahead of Gabriel Jesus. I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel hasn’t started - he has won more trophies including me in that dressing room but they don’t [ask why]. It is something that historically is done like this but I cannot have two players in this position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has and Karl has, but we have to use them and it is like this.
I am a really young manager, I have only had three and a half years in the job and I have few regrets. It was on two occasions, that after 60 minutes and at 85 minutes in two games in this period I could have changed the keeper in that moment, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the courage to do it, but I am able to take a winger or a striker and put a central defender at the back to make a back five and hold that result. We drew those games and I was so unhappy.
Someone is going to do it, and it’ll be strange and you’ll ask why, but tell me why not? If you have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something, or if something is happening and you want to change the momentum, then do it. It is a regret that I have and now my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team that they have to play, regardless of the competition - this is my message.
on Raya’s sweeper-keeper qualities:
We adapt to the qualities that our players have and try to make them play to their strengths. There are games to do certain things and games to do other things that in my opinion were really important against Everton and we made the decision to try and benefit the team - that’s it.
on how he wants Aaron to react to being dropped:
The same as Jesus, the same as Tomiyasu - it is exactly the same. We play with 11 players, we don’t play with 10+1 or 10 or nine, it is exactly the same.
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