After seeing his team chalk up a sixth win in a row in all competitions on Thursday night at Bodo/Glimt, Mikel Arteta's attentions turned to our trip to Leeds United on Sunday.
He held his pre-match press conference ahead of the Whites game immediately after the game in Norway, and discussed the fixture congestion and its effects on our players, as well as providing injury updates and his assessment of our opponents.
Here is everything he had to say:
on the potential psychological boost of going four points clear at the top:
Now, the trick is how are we going to prepare for Leeds, mentally and physically. It’s going to be a battle - we know the way they play and how intense it is going to be and the crowd that they have, so it’s going to be a challenge. We have to be at our best again to win there.
on whether the Thursday-Sunday routine is starting to catch up with us:
I think it is already here, but I think after the World Cup it is going to be even worse, so I think it is good preparation for what is coming.
on how he’ll prepare those players who played 90 minutes against Bodo/Glimt:
We’ll give them some ideas, some video, keep them active to recover well and that’s it. There is no time so we have to travel back to London, and then travel to Leeds. We’ll have an activation on Saturday but it’s not really a training session, it’s not possible.
on whether we’re now better equipped to stand up to hostile atmospheres such as Leeds:
I think so, but last year it was incredible - even when we were winning 3-0 that crowd is something that I’ve never seen before, and you can sense that. Every time I watch them and I’ve seen some games already and you can hear the noise, so we know how it’s going to be.
on what he expects from Leeds:
With Jesse and the teams that they have already played, it is very clear what he wants to do - be a really intense team, a really dynamic team and a really good team when there are spaces to attack. There’s some similarities [to Bielsa’s team] but every coach has his own book, but what Jesse has done over the time he has been there is really impressive.
on whether he expects Gabriel Jesus to be in contention:
I don’t know, obviously he has some discomfort after the game against Liverpool and that’s why we decided not to bring him in [to Norway], so let's see how he is tomorrow and Saturday.
Read our in-depth pre-match preview ahead of the game, which includes facts, stats, information on our opponents, team news and classic action
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