Press conference

Every word from Mikel's post-Tottenham presser

Mikel Arteta during north London derby

After we drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur, Mikel Arteta was swiftly into the media conference room to tackle questions from the press.

The boss was asked about key moments in the contest, the difference between the first and the second halves, and provided an injury update on Declan Rice.

Here is everything had to say:

on his thoughts on the game:
We are very disappointed not to win the three points that’s for sure, especially when you go twice in front in the game and you have the opportunity win it, and especially the moment we conceded the goals. We had control of the game, that we could’ve scored at 2-0 with a situation with Gabby, then you concede a goal and you have to bounce back and we did. We scored the goal and it’s a shame within a minute you concede the other one.

I think that affected the team emotionally quite a lot. We lacked some composure on the ball to get more passes to get in the final third and it became a little bit of a transitional game. That’s a risky one to play against them and then we pushed in the last 15, 20, we push, we push, we push, but we lacked probably the quality in the final pass, as well to get the most of it and win the game.

on the frustrations at being ahead and missing clear chances:
In big games, the boxes are so important and we have to put those chances away and we didn’t. We had some errors in both goals to concede, and then it becomes difficult to win but honestly the effort, the energy that the boys put in, the attitude it was phenomenal. I think we today lacked certain composure on the ball to be more dominant, and to get set to get the structure we needed against a really good Spurs side.

on our effective pressing in the first half compared to the second:
I think the second half we regained a lot of balls in high press as well, they came out twice - one with Maddison when they hooked the ball to him. Credit to them because they have the quality and take their chances to do that but apart from that, I don’t think we conceded from set situations a lot. It was more it was a danger when we have simple giveaways and when we regained the ball, and we didn’t do enough with that ball that we regained in certain areas, to allow them to spread out and run those.

on Declan Rice’s injury:
He had some discomfort in his back, and he was telling us during the first half that he wasn’t comfortable. When we assessed him at half-time, he couldn’t continue, so we had to change him.

on Fabio Vieira’s substitution:
Fabio wasn’t injured, that was a tactical decision.

on the injuries that the squad has suffered:
It was already a test today because we missed five big players, but it’s what we have. We need to give trust and opportunities to the other ones – we have a game every three days and that’s the level we have to show, so let’s go for it.

on our opposition being title contenders:
I think they’re a really good side, they’re really well-coached. You can feel the spirit within the team, the energy within them. I think six games is too early for everybody to discuss what we’re going to do.

on if Rice will be out long-term:
Hopefully not, but we have to assess him. It’s strange that a player like him asks to come off, because he wasn’t uncomfortable. Hopefully not, but we’ll see.

on if playing midweek led us to feel a bit leggy in the game:
I don’t know, because we finished the game really strong. We were very dominant; we were playing in their third and they couldn’t get out. There were moments that we played super hype, and in these derbies, the stage, the atmosphere and the energy to play there, and to play at the same pace when you don’t have the ball, and when you get it back. We lacked that composure to be much more dangerous, because we could have been.

on Jorginho’s action that led to the Spurs equaliser:
I love him, and we love him. We all love him. That is a part of football, and they are allowed to make errors because they play. We don’t play and for us it’s really easy, but if there is someone who is there that will help the team and do the most, it’s him. He’s got it, and for Jorgi, we’re all with him.

on there being a four-point difference between us and Manchester City:
We are not thinking about this. We are trying to win our games - we have tried to win the game again today and we didn’t manage that for very obvious reasons. That’s it, and we have to improve.

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