After beating Brighton & Hove Albion on New Year’s Eve, Mikel Arteta’s thoughts already turned to the next game, with Newcastle United coming to town on Tuesday night.
The meeting will see us take on the third-placed Magpies who have enjoyed a stellar season so far, and in his pre-match press conference held at the Amex Stadium, the boss was asked about their threat, as well as much more.
Here is everything he had to say:
on how highly he rates Newcastle:
They are a very good team, really well coached. I think what Eddie has done in a short period of time and you look at the numbers it’s incredible, so big credit to him and the coaching staff. They have created a belief and momentum around the team that they play the same way against any opponents, so we will start to prepare for that game. It is going to be another big test, but we will play at home in front of our crowd, and I’m looking forward to it.
on trying to put a lid on title expectations:
It is not about trying to stop anybody [getting excited], it’s about being realistic about where we are. The way we are performing is impressive, and we are really happy with that, but we have set the bars and the objectives in the short-term, and what we want to improve and what is making us win this many football matches.
on what he dreams of achieving in 2023:
To win against Newcastle, and then the next one, and the next one! That’s the dream, and obviously that all my loved ones and everyone around the club feel healthy, satisfied and enjoys life, which is beautiful.
on the squad striving for more despite winning games:
Great. When I see those interactions and enjoyment, I see joy and happiness, because they were really happy after that big win for us [at Brighton], but as well they were moderate, understanding that we still have a lot of things that we have to improve as a team.
on whether the players are paying attention to results elsewhere:
I don’t know, I’m not very interested in that but everybody knew the results [on Saturday afternoon] - I can guarantee you.
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