After seeing his team lose 4-1 to Manchester City, Mikel Arteta faced the world's media in the Etihad Stadium press room to discuss the defeat.
He was asked his thoughts about the performance, what we'll learn from it and our chances of lifting the Premier League title after that result, as well as numerous other things.
Here is everything he had to say:
on the performance:
The analysis is clear: the better team won the game. They were probably at their best, especially in the first half, and we were nowhere near our level. When that happens, the gap becomes too big and in the first 30 minutes we didn’t do all the basic things that you have to do against an exceptional team, in terms of competing, winning duels and understanding what the game requires. We got punished and we could have been punished even more.
on Opta’s predictor suggesting Man City have a 92 per cent chance of winning the league:
The stats said at the start of the season that Arsenal were going to finish sixth or seventh. We are where we are with five games to go. Those players deserve a lot of credit, to be where we are after nine and a half months. There are still five games to play. I’ve been in this country for nearly 22 years and I’ve seen a lot of things; I know how much it shifts from game to game. There are no two equal games in this league. First of all, we have to lift our players, because they suffered tonight. They played against an exceptional team - they know that. But we’re an exceptional team as well and today we weren’t at the races at the level that was required to win the game.
on if the only way any other team can win the title is if Man City have an off year:
I don’t know the answer to that. We’ve been here for nine and a half months. We lost today and we have to accept that we lost in a very different way at Emirates Stadium. Today the quality of the performance from one team was very far [in front] of the other.
on why the players failed to do the basics:
I prefer to keep that [with] my players. They were better in every department. They were more aggressive, they kept the ball better, they won every single duel. We had them in the corners and from there, in two passes, they were in front of our goal. We conceded from a set play and from a throw-in against us too easily. They deserved to win the game because they were better.
on if he was tempted to change his approach going into the game:
We wanted to tweak a few things but they were able to execute and scored an early goal. You have to understand where we’re coming from - we have to be loyal to what has brought us all this way. We’ve done it in the past in different ways and that doesn’t guarantee you anything. It’s time to look in the mirror at what we could have done better - I’m the first one - and go into the next game.
on if the players froze:
I don’t think they were scared but the way we started the game didn’t help at all, because we put ourselves in trouble in many situations. We lost all the races, we lost all the first and second balls. When that happened, they started to have vertical attacks with open spaces to attack. That created an [uncertainty]. We could not grab the game the way we wanted and that’s credit to them as well, because they were really good.
on why the team weren’t able to compete in the early stages:
It’s very easy to say that here but at the end, when you have to play against that team and they play at their best that I’ve probably seen, then it’s extremely difficult to do that.
on what the lesson from the defeat is:
Just to accept the reality - that’s the best way to move forward. Accept that today they were better than us, that they deserved to win the game, that we never had a chance to win the game and that we have to improve, be better and be humble enough to accept that. In sport, you have to do that if you want to be better.
on how disappointing it is that the team weren’t at their best:
Very, but we knew we were going to need our best as a team and individually. Individually you have to be at your best, and you need 11 players to do that. Today we were far from that.
on if we need to win all our remaining games to have a chance of winning the title:
I don’t know what is going to be required. For sure we have to first lift the players up, because they suffered tonight and it was a difficult one to swallow. We’ll lift them up tomorrow and do everything we’ve done so far so well in the next match to earn the right to win [the next game]. That’s where we have to start right now.
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