Ahead of Sunday afternoon’s clash against Manchester United, Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference at London Colney.
Fresh off the announcement that Leandro Trossard had signed from Brighton & Hove Albion, the boss turned his attention to a fixture he believes is one of the biggest in world football.
Here is everything he had to say:
on the signing of Leandro Trossard:
We are really happy to have him. He’s a player we have followed for a while now. The opportunity came - we had the necessity to have a player in the frontline who is versatile enough to play in different positions. He knows the league, he has enough experience here and I think he can have an immediate impact in the team.
on the importance of Trossard having the capability to hit the ground running:
It’s very important. We have to think short-term, but medium and long-term as well. He gives us all of that. He’s a very intelligent player. When you look at his career and what he’s done in the last few years, he’s a player that fits our way of playing. We’re happy to have him.
on if Trossard will be available at the weekend:
He trained today, so hopefully.
on if the paperwork was done in time:
Yes, I think it is. I think he’s good to go.
on if Arsenal being top of the league influenced the decision to make the signing:
We can do what we can in the windows. In the summer we were looking for a player in that position and we weren’t able to do it. It’s something that the squad needed - with the injuries of Gabi and Reiss we’re really short in the frontline. We needed some reinforcements and in Leo, we’ve found a player who fits everything that we want.
on Jakub Kiwior - and if a deal to sign him is close:
We cannot talk about players we haven’t finalised. When that’s the case, we can announce it.
on if he was cheering on Tottenham against Manchester City:
We look at ourselves. I think we have more than enough to just look at ourselves and try to focus on what we do, try to keep improving. We have to win football matches. What the rest do is something we cannot control.
on how he’s managed to keep the squad so motivated and up for every challenge:
It’s something we have to do every single day. Tomorrow I have to lift my players, I have to make sure my players are up to it, that they still have that desire, that hunger and that they still have something in the tummy to go on Sunday with the same ambition and energy to try to beat Manchester United.
on if the squad are ready to deal with an increase in pressure:
I continue to say what I say: we go training by training. Today we trained really well and tomorrow we’ll try to train better than today.
on if there are any fresh injury concerns:
Not that I know of. So far, so good.
on if the squad have extra motivation given the defeat at Old Trafford:
We have to learn. There were some important lessons about that game and the reason why we lost it. In many moments we were in total control of the day. But we know that’s one of the qualities of Man United - when you are in control of the match, the game gets away from you because they have so much individual talent, good organisation and many ways to create problems. We’ll have to be at our best to win on Sunday.
on if Palace’s last-minute equaliser will take the wind out of United’s sails:
I don’t know. What happens with the other teams and results: there’s still half of the league to go. There are a lot of twists and turns to go. We have to be consistent in what we do, play the best possible way and control that. The rest will take control of itself.
on our historic rivalry with Manchester United:
I think the history and the clashes and the way those two clubs have competed, it tells you everything that you need to know before the match. It's a huge game in the league, in the country, around the world and we have to prepare for that. The table says what it says this season right now but our main focus is on being prepared for a big match.
on Erik ten Hag’s tenure with United:
Really impressive. I think he's turned things around pretty quickly. He has implemented a very clear way of playing. I think the players seem like they've bought into it, they have really good energy around the place. And a lot of things have changed in a very short period of time so credit to him and and the coaching staff for what they've done.
on Marcus Rashford’s current form:
It's not only him, unfortunately. There are a lot of individuals and the collective organisation that we have to be very aware of. We prepare the games to try to hide what they have to try to create a problem against us.
on Casemiro’s absence on Sunday:
Again, it's something that we can't control. He didn't play in our first game either and we still didn't do enough to win that match. When you look at the squad that they have, it's just incredible. The individuals and the collective organisation can beat any opponent in this league and we'll plan the game knowing that [Casemiro] is not available, that's for sure.
on how impressive Martin Odegaard has been this season:
[He's taken the armband] in a really natural way. He's still a really young player with huge talent, but more desire than talent. He knows that he can still get much better and he's on that pathway. He's enjoying playing for us, he's contributing to a team in a really impactful way and he needs to continue to do that.
on Albert Stuivenberg’s assessment of Trossard, having coached him previously:
Yeah, we've talked about everybody that is connected that we know about, players that we want to recruit because character is something crucial. To understand how they are, how they behave, whether they can accept the role that they're going to have at the club with us. And then personal conversations, obviously, are very, very important as well.
on whether his decision to build a team around versatile, technical players was influenced by the Arsenal team he played in:
I think the technical part is a very relevant and important aspect for us. I think specificity is another one that is really necessary to our way of playing. But as well, it's true that we need a few players who can fulfil certain positions and Leo is is one of them. Obviously, the skill and composure he has in the final third and the technical ability to associate and link with people, it's impressive. That's what we need from our forward players especially.
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