Press conference

Arteta on the draw, the atmosphere and Ramsdale

Mikel Arteta gestures from the sidelines at Anfield

There was plenty to discuss after an eventful, dramatic 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

Mikel Arteta was asked about the team’s performance, dealing with the atmosphere at Anfield, Aaron Ramsdale’s heroics and responding to dropping two points in his post-match press conference.

Here’s a full transcript…

On his emotions throughout the game…

Wow, super intense match. We started the game exceptionally well, dominated it, and took the game where we wanted. Scored the first one, and continued to play the way we wanted. We scored the second one and that was a moment to kill the game. And yet, before half-time, we gave them hope.

We conceded the goal and they generated some belief in this special atmosphere and stadium. And the second half was a very different story. Not the way we started - I think we started really well in the first few minutes - but then we didn't continue to play.

We gave every single ball away especially in very dangerous areas when you allow open spaces in big transition moments against the best team in the world doing that. And when that happens, it's chaos. It's a lot of balls in your box, it's difficult to get out of those situations and then you have to suffer. 

We relied on big defensive moments where Aaron took a big part of it, and they missed the penalty. And then we could have nicked the game because we had three huge situations on the counter where they were overloaded or we were two against two. We missed that ruthlessness to take the game. So looking at the two halves, it's probably a fair result. And you have to take it and the big lesson is 'play the way we played the first half.' 

On whether this team has experienced many atmospheres like the Anfield crowd…

When you look back at what they've done to big teams, including this season, they are an exceptional team. And they are a very, very difficult team to dominate for 90 minutes. At any moment, they can shift that momentum and create a game that they want. When they raise the level to that, there are few teams that can keep up and you have the examples of the results this year again. So merit to them as well because they are a really good team.

On whether Xhaka and Alexander-Arnold’s clash riled up the crowd…

I don't know if that's the case. We had a big chance after that. If we'd scored to make it 3-0, maybe the crowd doesn't get too excited but after that, they scored a goal and that changes the momentum and the hope. But still, we had to come in the second half and we had to play more and that's the lesson.

The lesson is 'Stick to what we've done the first half’. Play with our personalities and that's the way we have to continue to play. If we do that, we'll win a lot of games.

On the mood inside the dressing room…

When you concede at the end, you always focus on dropping two points because you have it and you are suffering but you are relying on certain moments and the feeling is 'Ah, we should have done it!' But being fair to ourselves, they had four big chances where they could have scored and they missed the penalty. We will have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we should have done much better in the second half.

On Aaron Ramsdale’s vital saves…

You need your goalkeeper if you want to win and be in title races. How many times has Alisson done what he has to do? You have to have that, you have to have those magic moments from the keeper. We had some exceptional moments from players today as well and to win at grounds like that, you need that.

On how the team will respond to this result… 

Well, we've been responding for 31 games now. Every single day is a test and the test is now: how good are we going to be on Monday and how well are we going to prepare to beat West Ham and to play the way we want to beat West Ham.

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