After our 4-0 success over PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, Mikel Arteta tackled a host of questions from the world’s media, keen to get his take on our excellent display against the Dutch side.
The boss was quizzed on the margin of victory, the emotion of our return to the competition and the difference between domestic and continental football among many other things.
Here is everything he had to say:
on whether this evening was the “perfect night”:
It was a beautiful night. Obviously after such a long time, we wanted to produce the right performance to try to win the game, and it was great to see the atmosphere, the Champions League music, everyone was getting a bit emotional before it. We showed especially in both boxes today we were exceptional and that was the difference in the game I think.
on whether he was emotional before the match:
I was yeah, I was really excited about it, I wanted to control it and I don’t show that too much, but I was really excited. It’s part of the journey, the journey started last year and we earned the right to be in this competition, which is where we have to be as a club and now we have the responsibility to produce what we have to produce to stay at this level.
on if his side could have shown even more after the four-goal win:
I agree, especially box-to-box there are things we should have done much, much better and that’s every single day you have to be at it. You have to be really analytical to try to improve, but at the same time credit to the boys to play the way they played in certain moments. To score four goals in the Champions League against a team that hasn’t lost a single game, credit to them as well.
on the players managing the emotions of their Champions League debuts:
I could sense that. I think we have tried using that energy and that emotion in the right way, talking about the enjoyment, we have to compete at this level but there has to be a part that we have to enjoy as well, those moments, those nights. It’s what at the end you remember, and I think it’s going to be a good memory.
on facing a different style of opponent to Premier League sides:
Every opponent brings different challenges and when you score early in a game probably that helps. That hasn’t been the case too much this season, and that’s what we have to face opponents on other things as well. Certainly, when you see this team running, full of pace, being vertical, it’s a joy to watch.
on being able to take off players in the second half ahead of the north London derby:
We could manage the minutes of some of them, especially because of where they were coming from and with the national teams where they played a lot of minutes. As well, to give players minutes was fully deserved. I was really emotional when I saw the reception for Emile as well. He’s a player that hasn’t played much yet, and to get the reception that he got was well deserved and I’m so happy for him as well.
on wanting the team to kill games off earlier and how pleasing that was:
Very good and that’s what we have to do. That’s why I mentioned that in the box we were exceptional today. We were ruthless, we took our chances and the finishing quality was top, but as well we could’ve done more and probably the manager sometimes is looking a bit more at that than the other parts.
on Bukayo Saka’s first game in the Champions League:
To be fair, some of the boys now play at an international level, you know, and they have big roles in their national teams, and you can sense that as well, that they’re not just part of the squad, they have a lot of responsibility and they’re big players there. That’s very helpful for the team.
on David Raya being picked ahead of Aaron Ramsdale:
It’s the belief that I had in the team that I wanted to play with the expected opponent. Not only that, the changes that we made with all the players, it was for the same reason.
on how hard it is to compete in the Premier League and the Champions League:
Winning always helps and when you see that dressing room and how happy they were today at the end, if tomorrow I tell them to train they will train, for sure. Now we have three days to prepare for a big game again, a really special game for us and we’ll try to do it in the best way.
on Kai Havertz playing different roles in the game:
He was very connected today in the game. It’s true that I ask him to play in two different roles in regard to the opponent’s behaviours. He’s so intelligent the way he does it. It’s just finishing one or two actions that we had again, but it’s coming and he’s so willing to do it.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.