Press conference

Every word of Mikel’s pre-Manchester City presser

Mikel Arteta held his pre-Manchester City press conference at London Colney on Friday afternoon.

He was asked about the latest team news, coming up against Pep Guardiola and much more.

Here is everything he had to say on the following subjects..:

on Bukayo Saka’s fitness and if he’s in contention to play:
Well, he is in contention, we'll see how he progresses from here to Sunday. Obviously he had to leave the pitch [against RC Lens], that's never good news, but let's see how he recovers.

on what Saka's injury was:
I leave that for the doctors!

on Thomas Partey’s fitness:
Well, he's ahead of schedule that's for sure. We wanted to have him in the squad if we needed to, the way the game panned out we had other necessities and we didn't use him. He will be in the squad tomorrow.

on making our best unbeaten start for 16 years:
Well, consistency, that's for sure. That's what we are looking for in this league, you have to be at your best every single match, we have managed to win a lot of games, something that we have been better at is when you cannot win, don't lose it, except for midweek in the Champions League, and that's what it requires, every three days you have to be at your best.

on how David Raya has settled in:
Very good. Around the players, with his teammates, around the club, he knows London really well, he knows the way we play and he's used to that and he knows the league, so he's done exceptionally well.

on if we can take anything from the Community Shield win into Sunday’s game:
Well, that was an important one for us. To win a title against Man City is always something you have to value, the way we did it as well and it gives us confidence and belief that we can beat them.

on the differences between the sides since then:
Well, that was a while ago obviously. It was after pre-season, we had some players available, some players not available, we are much more into the season, so I think it will be a different game.

on Wolves' victory over Man City and what it means:
Any team in the Premier League has the tools and the quality to beat you and I think all the managers are aware of that, for sure.

on our record against City in the league and what we need to change:
We aren’t looking back for sure because there were different players participating in those games, but we know one thing for certain, that we’re going to have to be at our best. We have to be at our best in every department for 100 minutes. Then we have a chance.

on if this is a season-defining game for us:
No it would be a big boost obviously energy and confidence-wise but apart from that and the points, nothing else.

on Ben White’s development at the club:
I’m really happy with Ben. I think he’s been a very consistent player for us. I think he’s been always developing for us. I think he’s developed in a great way both as a centre-back and especially as a full-back because there were some question marks there as well. I think he’s got the character of a proper fighter and a character that we need in the squad, especially at this level, and I’m really happy for that.

on our game against City on New Year’s Day in 2022, that he missed with Covid, and how big of a moment it was:
I could feel it from home, it was a huge step. We didn’t manage to get anything from the game in the end, we ended up with 10 men, but last year and at home as well it was a big one. The way we played, we ended up losing the game and we took some big lessons from that but as well a lot of positives to take into the season.

on if it’s worrying that referees can’t officiate certain matches for certain clubs:
I don’t know. It’s something that we don’t have a say on, we don’t manage. I think they are trying to make the best decisions, they are trying to protect the game, they are trying to get as much support and be ruthless when they need to be. At some point as well we need to give support and understand that mistakes happen. We’ve made mistakes as well and if the pressure is so much then it’s very difficult to manage.

on what we can do to not get caught up in the emotion of the game on Sunday:
First of all I think that we have the best atmosphere ever at the Emirates and if we can create that then it’s going to be so helpful for the team. We have moments where we have managed it exceptionally well. Against PSV was a really good example and certain parts against Spurs, but that’s down to us. Hopefully the crowd can give us that and that will be a big plus for us.

on if Bukayo had a scan showing no major damage:
In contention. That’s it, I’m not a doctor. That’s what they told me.

on whether he’ll have a conversation with Gareth Southgate about Bukayo’s minutes:
I have spoken to Gareth on several occasions but I have to do my job. I give him the news and the position that everybody is at, and then we have really good communication. He needs to make the best decision for the national team and organising them.

on if he and Pep Guardiola can still surprise each other:
I don't know, I'm sure that every year we have new tools and new players who can do different things, but obviously we know each other and we expect something from each other. At the end, it is down to the players and they are the ones that surprise you the most, that's for sure.

on the last thing he did that surprised Mikel:
Probably something that he didn't do. I expected him to do something very different with Bernardo [Silva, when he played at left-back against us last season] and he didn't do it.  

on whether he prepares for left-field ideas like that:
Yes and he does that normally in big games and against big teams and it’s not only his decisions as well against different opponents or different things. That's a big quality of theirs because they can they can change it, but not only before the game, I think they can do it during the game, they can do it at half-time and that's a strength of a team that is able to dominate.

on if there are any games he wishes could be replayed:
No comment!

on whether City will play long balls against us:
They did that against Brighton when they were super aggressive or against Liverpool. It’s about adapting to the behaviour of the team. You know what you're going to provoke when you have certain ideas, you want to get a team really high up the pitch and now they have different qualities, ones we are aware of with Haaland as well and there are different qualities because they have Ederson and another goalkeeper.

on the importance of having competitive back-up players like Leandro Trossard:
Really important, I think Leo has been really good. I think he had a big impact on the team in the last game that he played and he has an absence against Brentford where he didn’t participate but for the rest, he’s been really good.

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