Press conference

Every word from Mikel’s pre-Burnley presser

Our final game before the last international break of 2023 is against Burnley at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Having returned to winning ways in the Champions League on Wednesday, three more Premier League points are up for grabs this weekend, and Mikel Arteta previewed the game in his regular pre-match press conference.

The boss was asked about team news, VAR decisions, his relationship with Vincent Kompany, Aaron Ramsdale’s future and more.

Here’s a full transcript from the press conference…

on the latest team news:
You mention we have a few. A few are still in contention. We need to give them 24 more hours to give them a chance to be involved in the game, but we won’t know anything until tomorrow.

on if anyone is definitely not available:
Timber is for sure not. Thomas Partey is for sure out and probably Emile is out. There might be a few more.

on Bukayo being called up for England and if he will be brought back like last time:
Hopefully not. We want our players to play for their club and play for their national teams. B had to leave the pitch because he was in quite a lot of pain. He didn't train yesterday and let’s see if he can make it tomorrow.

on Eddie not being selected for England this time:
Well I don’t know the real reason. That’s a question for Gareth. I know how important for him it is to be in the national team and how much he enjoys being there in the last few experiences. That’s a decision that’s not in my hands.

on Thomas’ procedure impacting the amount of time he’s out:
No, hopefully not. He’s progressing really well but it was a significant injury. Hopefully it’s going to be weeks and not months and he’s working towards that. He needs support and hopefully the injury will heal in the right way and we’ll have him back, because he’s a big player for us.

on if he will be back for the African Cup of Nations:
That’s part number two. Let’s get him quick and healthy as quick as possible and playing a big part in the team, which I think that he can do.

on Aaron and if he will be selected for the Euros:
I haven’t spoken to him about that topic, no.

on the Independent Key Match Incidents Panel deciding that the Newcastle goal was a valid one: 
I think we had a lot of reactions after that match. It’s time to move forward, to focus on Burnley and talk about tomorrow’s game.

on if he would like to know who is on the panel:
I think at some point we will know.

on if he would like to join the panel in the future:
It’s a possibility. Everything is a possibility in this life!

on Vincent Kompany and how he’s doing at Burnley:
I’m not surprised at all. I think he was already a coach when he played. He was a leader, someone very intelligent that could navigate very different scenarios really well. In the dressing room and above, he understood the game really well. He spoke several languages and you could tell straight away that he was going to be a top coach. Obviously he’s a had a very strong career already. What they did last year was incredible, especially the way they did it. In this Premier League, we all have difficulties. We all have good moments and I’m really happy to see him doing what he’s doing.

on how tough Burnley have found it this season:
Looking back on the games they have played and the results they’ve got, in some of them they merited much more than what they got. I don’t think it reflects actually what they deserved in games. But that is the difficulty of this league. Sometimes when you deserve more you don’t get it because the quality of the oppositions is so high. But the way they have transformed their way of playing, the club, and how they continue to play with the belief that they do, for me it’s remarkable.

on if they ever discussed becoming managers together:
Yeah we discussed it. He was doing his badges, I was already there, and he was very connected to the coaching staff, connected to the team, and we had a lot of talks about football. You could tell straight away he would be a coach very soon.

on similarities in the style of football between the two managers:
I think we have a lot of similarities in what we want to happen in games. I think the approach and the way we do it is probably different, hopefully it is different, but I really like what he's done.

on reports that it will take 10 years to iron out VAR imperfections:
I don't know. I will probably be bald in 10 years, life will be very different, maybe we will have other new rules in football, so I don't know. Let's try to do everything that we can, individually and collectively to improve the game in every aspect and that's it.

on beating Sevilla and almost securing qualification to the Champions League knockout stages:
I was very pleased with the performance, the way we won the game and how much we restricted the opponent to have a chance to get anything from the game, but there is still a lot to play for, the group is really tight and we still have to do a lot to be where we want to be.

on the flexibility of Leo given the injuries we have up front:
I'm really happy with him. Obviously, it's been almost a year since he joined us, we knew all his quality and what he could bring to the team and that's why we bought him, because he can fill different positions, but as well different needs and qualities that we didn't have in the squad when we want to do something different, and against Sevilla he showed again his quality.

on if there is unwarranted pressure on Kai Havertz:
I don't know. I can tell you that I'm really pleased with the way he's performing. Obviously, looking at the numbers, just specifically the numbers of what he's producing in front of goal, those have to be improved and we have to improve them, but in many other areas of the pitch, what he gives to the team at the moment is really important.

on if Aaron wanted to move to get the chance to impress Gareth Southgate:
Well, first of all, my door is open to speak to any player, we just want the best for our players, and we try to do that. We know the influence that we can have, sometimes positively, sometimes not so positively towards them, but we will always try to do our best to help them, but this is a team sport that needs 24 players that have to fulfil a role. The role that you have in August, it might be different to the one that you have in March, so making decisions, in my experience, is not something good at all, and as well because the team has certain needs that have to be accomplished, and in order to do it, you cannot do it with 16 or 14 players, it is impossible. You need everyone and Aaron has really important role in the team.

on whether Pep Guardiola will influence a pool of managers like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger did:
For sure and there will be many, many more to come, and in different countries. This saga is going to be even bigger because he has this quality, this capacity to inject his passion and another way to look at the game. It’s very contagious and very powerful.

on Aaron attracting interest from clubs in the January window:
I have no messages for other clubs. I can talk about my players, how much I like my players, how much I like Aaron. We want Aaron with us, that’s for sure.

on Gabriel Jesus being called up by Brazil and how he will be assessed:
We always try to speak with the national teams and find some common sense. The only important thing here is the best interest of the player, and after that, when we have secured that, what’s the best interest for the national team and the club, and we would like it the same exact way.

on Martin and if he has been able to train:
He’s still racing (against the clock). He’s trying everything that he can so let’s see. It’s a possibility.

on having so many injuries at once and the depth we have in the squad, if we need more depth in January:
Some of the injuries we had were bad luck, some have been long term injuries with some special players, when we didn’t have a lot of depth. So we can talk about the depth, but sometimes you have to talk about specific positions. For certain units we are a little bit shorter, but it’s the challenge of the season. Other people have to step up and that is a good test for the team as well; how we take those moments, and how we respond to that, and so far the team is doing well.  

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