Press conference

Every word from Mikel's post Leeds presser

Mikel Arteta after the win against Leeds United

After seeing us record back-to-back 4-1 home victories to stretch our winning run in the Premier League to seven games, Mikel Arteta was in good form in his post-match press conference.

A Gabriel Jesus brace plus strikes from Ben White and Granit Xhaka saw us maintain our eight-point lead at the top of the table, and the boss answered questions on plenty of topics from the journalists in attendance.

Here is everything he had to say:
on the importance of this result after Manchester City’s win:
What we can control is what we can do. We’ve been discussing that for the last few days. After the international break we had a lot of tricky situations to manage with a few players and it’s always a question mark with how the team is going to react after that. I think they were exceptional, they were really at it, everyone wanted to be involved and we won the game in a convincing way, which is good and the only thing that we can control. 
on Gabriel Jesus’ contribution:
I’m delighted for him. They were all clapping for him and he’s been working so hard the last four or five months with a lot of support obviously from the team and the staff. Today he deserved the chance to start and he grabbed the opportunity with a lot of conviction and scoring two very important goals. 
on his message to the players at half-time:
Well, the first thing is that we had to improve. Obviously the way that they set up, they were really man-marking our attacking midfielders and they played with four really fast players to cut us in transition. We started to lose the ball in areas that we cannot do against a team that wants to defend that way. We improved that a lot, we exploited all of the spaces and we changed a little bit the shape and position of a few players, and we were more fluid attacking in the final third very close to the box with good numbers and good positions. We looked a threat. 
on Ben White having injury issues before the game: 
He had some issues as well in the last few days but he’s a big fighter and he wanted to be here. Obviously with the injury of Tomi we are short in that position and he scored a goal as well, which is good news for him and he was very good again. 
on whether in his wildest dreams he could have imagined Leandro Trossard playing so well: 
I have very wild dreams! No, seriously, we knew about his quality and what he could bring to the team. We are really pleased with him, he can play on the right, he can play on the left, he can play as an attacking midfielder, as a nine, a false nine. He’s really contributing to the team and he really takes a lot of responsibility in games to make things happen and we love that. 
on Ben White’s attacking runs:
As a manager when he puts the ball in the back of the net it’s great, but if he doesn’t and then on the counter we have an open space, I’m not so happy. But he’s timing those runs very well and he’s a threat. Even on set pieces, he’s improved a lot to be more dangerous and to drive more attention to the opponent. I’m really pleased with him. 
on the fluidity within our frontline:
We have players now who need a little bit of space and freedom and those interactions I think contribute to the team and make the opponent more conscious and worried about those rotations. It’s a little more difficult for them to defend and they also like it, they feel better, they feel free doing it and they have our blessing to do it. 

on creating a culture where a player always steps up:
First of all the players have to feel trust, and we trust them. They need to feel that confidence, and the players have to prepare in the right way when they have the chance, like Rob did, and to actually perform. The way they challenge themselves and support each other is exceptional, so I’m not surprised about it. It’s not easy to throw Rob into this level after months of inactivity but he was really, really good again today and I am happy because we need everyone. We had injuries unfortunately in the last few months, long-term injuries, and the team somehow has to find a way to keep winning and keep performing. It’s great to see that.

on how much of the Man City game they watched:
We were on the bus and in and out so very short parts, and when we got here we disconnected and focused on what we wanted to do in the game that we had ahead of us.

on if there is a sickness bug in the camp:
It was an issue that we had with some of the international players and players we had here but it happens. It was part of the context of the game and we used it in the right way. Players are so willing to step up and play in any context, which is great.

on the difference the atmosphere is making:
We were singing the song all together - goosebumps. The crowd transmits energy and belief and love to the players and unconditional support. Today is another example; when we conceded the goal the reaction of the crowd was to cheer the team and that is rare to see in any stadium and is an exceptional response. Stay with us - we are so excited and we want to go for it. Focus on the next game and put all the energy there.

on how we're shutting out the nerves:
Just enjoy the moment that we are in. We have nine games to go but [on Monday] we have a training session that is going to enable us to be better as a team, and if we go through the journey day by day, when the game comes we are in a state of mind and you are really looking forward to it. You have oxygen to grab instead of gasping, and we just want that energy and belief. We go to the next target and we go for it.

on if he enjoys the games:
I do, and now more than before. 

on if the wins feel like cup final victories:
No, they feel like just another game. It feels like the next training session, and we go again to the next game. Finals are played in May, we don’t have any finals today!

on getting Granit into goalscoring positions:
Yes, especially here [points to head] because when you think you are going to score, you score and then you believe in the next game that you are going to score. It was a great finish, great run and great timing, so I’m happy for him. [The midfield] needs to contribute to the team with goals.

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