Press conference

Every word from Mikel's post-Leeds presser

Mikel Arteta

On a dramatic afternoon in Yorkshire, we showed heart and character to hold on to take the three points back to north London and remain top of the Premier League table.

In his post-match press conference, Mikel Arteta was asked about the impact of the delayed kick-off, VAR decisions, and whether this fixture was our toughest so far this season.

Read on for a full transcript below. 

on what he made of an intense second half at Elland Road…

And the first half! It’s always intense here. We expected periods where it became really chaotic, the game. We had to handle the situation. I think in the first half we had some really good moments, that we should have outplayed them and scored two or three, and we didn’t.

We left the game open and from the beginning - from the first whistle in the second half we started not at the rhythm, not making the right decisions time after time. We put ourselves in big trouble. But then when you get into those moments, I love the resilience, the fight the character and the courage the team showed to win the game. 

on whether that’s an example of winning in a different way to previous games this season…

We made it difficult for ourselves because we didn’t close the game in the first half when we should have done. In the second half we made too many mistakes, and just gave opportunities and belief to Leeds. Credit to them, I think in the second half they were really good. Incredible atmosphere, and I think they deserve credit for that as well. 

on his thoughts about the late penalty being overturned by VAR…

I think the decision is clear. I haven’t looked back at it, but when everybody is telling me the same things, I think there are no complaints there. 

on how his heart rate is doing after that game…

It’s always very hectic here. I think it’s not a coincidence winning like this. What the team shows, the character it shows, the personality it shows, the desire to play. There are players that are really struggling after Thursday night. To go from Thursday night in Norway and then come to Leeds and win both games the way we have done - big credit to the boys. It shows a lot about the team. 

on whether this was one of the toughest games so far…

It's always really tough coming here, when you see the results that happened here earlier in the season. So again, extremely happy because we keep winning, and you have to be able to win in any context. And you know, it was very different today, and we found a way to win it.

on whether the delayed kick-off affected the players…

Obviously, you go to the MLS, this is very common. When we were in pre-season there, the game can get delayed because time distance for three hours, five hours, before play restarts. Here, we are not used to that, and we had to adapt to it and give them time to resolve the issue. But it was important because VAR was really important and it would have made the game different.

On whether it was hard to retain focus during the wait…

100%. I think we were all concerned about that, because they have a certain routine and that disrupted the routine. But again, a different context, adapt and find a way to win.

on whether he’ll be watching the Liverpool v Manchester City game keenly…

Yeah. I will be watching with some nice dinner in front of me, because it was really intense. And I need to bring everything down a little bit!

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