For the first time this season, Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference at London Colney ahead of our Community Shield meeting with Manchester City.
He tacked numerous questions from the journalists in attendance, including the usual team updates and transfer rumours, but also spoke glowingly about our summer signings and what we’ll need to do to beat City and get our hands on the silverware on Sunday.
Here is everything he had to say:
on Aaron Ramsdale’s Players’ Tribune article:
I thought the article was great – very open, very transparent. I think he expressed what he feels about the topics that he discussed, and I think he was very brave to do the way he did it.
on Aaron’s comments about the boss’ support during a tough period:
At the end of the day, we cannot forget that we are dealing with people, with human beings, and we are responsible to manage a lot of decisions with the players and things that can affect their lives. We have a big responsibility there and wherever we can obviously, we have to support and be close to them because I know how much it means. Not only me, but at the club, his teammates, everybody that supported him when they need to.
on Sunday’s Community Shield encounter:
Very excited to play a final and have the opportunity to win a trophy against a team that is the team to beat. They were the best team in Europe last season, and we know what the standards and are how we need to win the game, but we’re very excited.
on the size of our squad:
We are in the process of working on a few things and make a few decisions, there’s still time to do that. We are very happy with the squad, that’s for sure. As well, we have to make sure that can share minutes around the team in order to have healthy competition within the squad. We are working on that.
on whether there’s an optimum number of players we want in the squad:
Optimum people, and optimum players as well!
on Gabriel Jesus’ knee procedure:
He’s fine – obviously he was very disappointed, he was feeling really good. This issue came up which nobody expected so we had to do a little procedure there. Unfortunately, it was the best thing to do and as quickly as possible, the better. We made the decision and hopefully he’ll be back soon.
on team news for Sunday:
Bukayo was feeling much better today, so I don’t expect any other concerns.
on whether our new signings will allow us to earn more points this season:
I don’t have a clue. What happened last season and this season is not something that you can compare. There are other teams who have strengthened as well, and they will be much better too. I wish it were that simple, but unfortunately, it’s not.
on how he convinced Declan to sign for us:
We just explained our thoughts on him, the project we’re building, what his role was going to be in the club and in the team. We got into that very much on day one with him and his family as well, and we are delighted to have him.
on links to David Raya:
on where we’re at in our journey and if this is a new era for the club to compete for honours:
This is what we want, to be on every front fighting for trophies, and being as a club, in every front to try and be the best. We have to prove that what we did last year was something, but it wasn’t enough to win the biggest trophy and the one we were looking after. We have to be better and that comes every day with trying to be better, making better decisions and playing better, and deserving to win the game. In the end, the outcome will come by itself.
on Jurgen Klopp’s comments that City are the only team that can challenge for the title:
I respect that. They’ve shown their consistency over the years and they merit that respect from everybody for what they’ve done. If you want to challenge for that championship you know the total points that you’re going to be needing and that’s unheard of in this league for the last 100 years. So that’s the standard and if you want to be there, you know what you have to do.
on what he’s learnt about Declan Rice so far:
That he is a player that is already excellent, so we have to make sure that we don’t make him worse! We want him to put on the quality and abilities that he has and let him express his personality and the way he thinks about the game in the right way. If we can help him with a few things, that’s what we will try to do. We try to accommodate his qualities into the team to be better.
on where Kai Havertz will fit into the side:
Well, he’s playing at the moment in attacking midfield on the left but he can play on the right or as a winger coming inside, or as a nine or a false nine. We’ll see - it depends as well as we’re seeing a lot of things and the team give you information every day. There’s some connections and relationships that you except which is natural, so we have to have our eyes open to that and not just close the door to something because sometimes it is not the best thing to do.
on Rice’s arrival proving that we can challenge City for players:
I think the important thing is that we have a target and we have the resources that we need to bring a target in, but as well that we can convince him and tell him things that excite him, that he feels inspired and that he wants to be a part of it. That’s the feeling that we are getting with every player that we want to sign, but as well with the players that we already have here. They’re the ones that we really have to look after with that feeling and willingness to be here and drive the club to be better every single day, and for them as players, improve every day as well.
on our three signings bringing a winning mentality into the dressing room:
We’ve recruited them from important teams and they’re bringing those experiences. The three of them are really young but they have already done a lot in the game and in international football as well with their national teams, which is great.
on whether Rice will come straight into the leadership group:
His leadership skills are unquestionable. When you meet him and you spend the first five minutes with him, you get the feeling and impression that he’s someone who is going to help so much, with the dressing room and the approach that we want to take into games and have the initiative in our way of living. Things take time and they have to be natural, but if it has to happen, it will happen.
on whether we went into our last meeting with City fearful of them:
I don’t think so but the game started in a way that we didn’t want, and they were better in every department. They deserved to win the game without a question of a doubt, so for us to win the trophy on Sunday we’re going to have to be much, much better than we were then, that’s for sure.
on if we have extra motivation given that City are the only big six team that we’ve failed to beat in recent years:
Yes, it is time to do it!
on our supporters’ efforts this summer:
I want to say thank you because they have been absolutely incredible. We went to the US and we’ve been there a few times, but this season especially was incredible with the amount of support and love that they are showing towards the club. We have to be grateful and try to maintain the level, improve it and try to give everything back to them because it’s worth it to sit where we are and see how people feel about the club.
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