Press conference

Every word from Mikel's pre-Bayern Munich presser

Just over 24 hours before his side take to the field to tackle Bayern Munich in the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final, Mikel Arteta faced questions from journalists in his pre-match press conference.

The boss discussed topics including having a true home advantage, Harry Kane's return to north London, our evolution this season and Bayern's form this season.

Here is everything he had to say:

on the players relishing the big games:
We’re really enjoying the moment, this is where we want to be. We’re in a really good position in the Premier League and we’re in a really good position in the Champions League. We have a big task ahead of us against one of the most successful teams in Europe and that’s the hurdle we have to overcome, and we are looking forward to it.

on Bayern Munich’s threat:
They’re a tough team. I’m a big fan, a big admirer of Thomas [Tuchel], his teams, the way they settle and play, the way they transmit. I learn a lot about him and looking at Bayern and when you are analysing this league, you see why they are a top team. We have prepared very well, and we have to take our game where we want it, and if we do that, we have a chance to win.

on how we can stop Harry Kane:
It’s not only him! I think that the individuals that they have, all the individual qualities of all those players and him in particular, and the ability that he has. The best thing to do is what we do collectively and try to promote certain things.

on if his record against us is a factor:
Hopefully not!

on what makes him such a threat:
Consistency. When you look at his numbers over the last 10 years, it’s unbelievable what he’s done. He can score in many different ways, he’s got the service, he’s got the players around him as well to provide those opportunities and this is what we have to try to avoid.

on there being no away fans for this game:
[It’ll be a] Full house! A lot of passion and emotion. We haven’t had this opportunity for 15 years, so that tells you how special this night is going to be for us, so we’re going to have to put everything into every ball to make it happen.

on Jurgen Klopp’s comments about our game against Manchester United:
No, I can only talk about what we do.

on how much our team has grown with leaders on the pitch:
Hopefully we are better [than last season], we have learnt a lot of the stuff over the last few months. I think players have evolved; we all have tried to improve, to be better than we were a year ago. It’s been a really demanding season, it’s been a huge step for us to be in this competition and on top of that, be competing in the Premier League the way we are doing. This is the challenge, but as well we are so excited to be part of that.

on whether our previous 5-1 losses to Bayern make any difference now:
It’s there, that's history and when you look at the history of the competition that’s clear. The nature and the capacity to perform on the biggest stages - we have to prove that, that's for sure.

on how we’ve managed to recover from setbacks:
Hopefully it is in their nature. Something has to be within them and we will try to inspire and get that part of them as much as possible to become better, to be more competitive and have that resilience and will to win and improve every single day. Collectively, if you do that I think the outcome is powerful.

on whether we have to be perfect to win what we want this season:
Being perfect in football is difficult. You have to be better than the opponent first, and then when you have the moment you have to be ruthless. We've been really consistent and trying to be better than our opponents lately especially, and we have to carry on doing a lot of the things that we are already doing.

on whether we feel ruthless and strong:
Yes, we are in a good moment and winning and performing the way we're doing it always helps. It brings a really good spirit and just be focused on the next match. Tomorrow is a big task but we’re really looking forward to it.

on whether he has been surprised by Bayern’s form this season:
I don't know. Football is such a competitive environment and so difficult to be consistent that this can happen to anybody.

on whether we train to block shots:
Yes we do work on that but hopefully it’s in the players' nature as well. We can’t just allow teams to shoot in our goal, we have to prevent every possible scenario that occurs before that and when it gets to that stage, it’s the ultimate opportunity before our goalkeeper makes an intervention, so we try to control everything that happens in that chain.

on what he learned managing the CL knockout stages for the first time:
I think that evolution is not in relation to me. I would think my evolution would be in many other areas, not just because of our results but as a club which is the most important thing. We haven’t been in this position for 14 years, and the opportunity to go through to the next stage for 15 years, and for this club that’s a long, long time. We realise that and that's why we have this hunger and desire to make it happen.

on if he has spoken to Xabi Alonso for tips on how to beat Bayern:
Great question but I’m not going to answer that!

on what it was like to play against Bayern when Mikel was a player:
I don’t know, I can understand those debates, those opinions. For us it’s easier to just focus on the performance that we have to put in to beat a top and exceptional team with exceptional individuals. We have to earn every right in the pitch to make it happen and try to win the match.

on if Bayern’s form is relevant for this tie:
From my side no. As well it’s something that we have no say or control over and we just expect all the time the best from our opponent, against Bayern, Brighton or Aston Villa. Regardless of where they are you always have to expect that they play in their best possible way and be prepared to outperform them.

on if the criticism they’ve faced makes them more dangerous:
Hopefully not.

on how the first leg being at home changes the dynamic:
We know that every knockout stage is like this. The rules have changed as well and that’s very important. You have to be able to manage the game and control as many scenarios as we can within the 180 minutes.

on the mentality of not fearing any opponents:
That’s something that we’re looking to do in every single match. If we are able to do it in one match and not in three then it’s not part of us. To make sure that things are ingrained within the team and we are consistently delivering this type of thing, I’m proud of what the team is showing, the character and mentality they are showing and we have to carry on doing it.

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