Press conference

Every word from Mikel's pre-Newcastle presser

Mikel Arteta will take his side up to the north-east on Saturday as we attempt to maintain our unbeaten start against Newcastle United, but before that trip he held his pre-match press conference at London Colney on Friday morning.

He was asked a range of questions by the journalists in attendance, including injury news, his reflections on our League Cup exit at West Ham United, and managing the atmosphere and opponents at St James’ Park.

Here is everything he had to say:

on his further analysis of Wednesday’s defeat:
Every time you have a defeat it takes a few days to get over, but the full focus now is on Newcastle. There are obviously things that we had to do much better in the game, especially the way we competed and the way we conceded the goals. I don't think the scoreline reflects what happened in the game at all but we should have done much better.

on if he has learned more about the depth of his squad:
Every game is very different to the previous one and you have to be at it. If you take your foot off the gas in any action in this league, against this type of opponent, you get punished. It’s as simple as that so you have to give the standards the maximum level if you want to keep winning and winning.

on if he can welcome back any injured players:
We have another training session so there's a possibility but I don't know.

on Emile Smith Rowe’s injury:
Nothing has changed, as I said I think he will be out for weeks. How many will determine in relation to how he progresses in the first few weeks especially. It’s a big blow because he was getting some momentum and some minutes and we’d started to get the Emile that we needed, but unfortunately he’s going to be out again.

on Martin Odegaard benefitting from a rest:
We have tried to offload him a little bit because he had a little issue that he was grumbling with. He felt much better in the last few days, and we gave a few minutes against West Ham which was good to see, and his contribution was really good. He will train today and if he's fine he will be ready.

on how he reflects on the start of the season:
It's very early and we have to go game by game. We are in a really good position and we have to continue to be there. Tomorrow we have a really tough match against Newcastle but these are the game that you have to play when you want to be at the top.

on if he was concerned that standards dropped against West Ham
It dropped especially in one phase in the second half and when that happens, you have to compete in a different way to try to recover the momentum in the game and we didn’t do that well enough. We know the standards and we know that the way we played, especially in the second half the other day was not good enough.

on how much of a test he is expecting at Newcastle:
A big one. It’s one of the toughest places to go and win. We've done it and there is nothing new to it, we know what we’re expecting. It is very clear what they do, what their strengths are, and where the opportunities are for us. We will try to take the game where we want.

on if the squad has the confidence to do that:
This is football and the next game is the next game. The next day you have to be focused and our full focus and energy is now on beating Newcastle.

on what he makes of the job that Eddie Howe has done:
Huge credit to him, I think he has transformed the club, the environment, the atmosphere and what he created in the team as well. They have such a belief in what they do and that's a huge complement to him for what they’ve done.

on if there are similarities with the job he's done:
I don't know, every club is different. I have huge credit for what he's done, the way he's done it, the way his team plays and the environment he has created is fantastic. He's had a lot of support, which we all need, and now they are big contenders.

on if he's concerned about Kai Havertz's form:
I'm not going to talk about any individual like that. We are a team, and when we play at our best it's the team, and when we don't, I am the one who is responsible for that. We all need to try and improve every single day.

on inflated transfer fees for players:
I think there's been an evolution. I think we've gone from the 10s, to the 20s, to the 80s, to the 100s and there's been players who cost £220 million as well, so it's not as though we are getting used to it. It’s something that is happening and is happening more and more often. On other players and other clubs, what we are doing, there is no comment on that.

on whether a manager takes into account the price tag:
First of all, it's what can we do to improve our team, and then can we afford it, and does it make sense in our project to spend certain money on certain players. There is a lot of work to be done there.

on Ben White making his 100th appearance:
I think he's progressed in the right way in the last few years. He had a little bit of a difficult start, which is normal because it was a big jump with different expectations. He started to play as well in certain different positions, but I think he's shown a lot of determination and courage to overcome that. I think he has a big personality, I think he copes with pressure really well, he has a lot of quality, he gives us different positions and he's been a key player for us.

on whether he is close to signing a new contract:
We are always trying to keep the squad in a healthy position in any way, and the club and Edu especially are working on that.

on how important it is to have different characters in the squad:
He's a really good character in his own way and the way he is, the way he presents himself, but he loves football. The way he trains every day, the way he applies himself is top and we need players like him.

on whether Gabriel Jesus will be back after the internationals:
I cannot guarantee that. We are trying to get his recovery done as quickly as possible. I said that it will be weeks, but it's very difficult to put a timeframe on it right now.

on how disruptive those injuries are:
It’s football, it’s what happens. He hasn’t had a lot of injuries. It’s true that the load he’s had in the last few weeks, compared to what he’s had in the past, even when he was at City, has been very, very different. He’s still adapting to it. We’ve lost four big players in the last few weeks, but it’s the challenge we have throughout the season.
on Eddie Nketiah’s 100th Premier League appearance:
He has earned that right. We tried to explain to him what his role is in the team and the opportunities he would have like any other player, in relation to his performance. The fact he has played that many games is because of his own performances, and the reasons he is giving us to trust him.
on how we’ve improved our away form:
Belief, and then performances. First of all, be so convinced that you can go to Newcastle and fully believe you are going to win the game. It has to be really clear what you have to do to achieve that. Then obviously quality and talent to get the performance that we need and that’s down to the players.
on how the midfield has evolved since Granit Xhaka has left:
Granit was a key player, he played nearly every game for us and we knew that it was going to take some time, just like it took him some time, especially when I changed his role. There were a lot of questions about it and then he evolved in a great way, and here it will happen the same.
on Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly in the England under-17 squad:
A big compliment to the club and to everyone in the academy who have raised the boys. They look really excited, it’s going to be an incredible experience for them, so we wish them all the best.
on playing at St James’ Park:
When you play football, you want to play in those atmospheres. Like going to Seville, you know what you are going to get. It’s an incredible privilege to play in those grounds, you have to embrace the moment, enjoy it and go for it because it’s worth it. These are the arenas you want to be tested in.
on how he would describe going to St James’ Park:
An incredible football atmosphere.
on the title race this season:
What has happened in the last five years is unprecedented. It never happened with the amount of points and level of the teams. Now it’s the amount of teams with that level that is increasing and increasing. That’s why comparing to the past in this league is a waste of time. It’s very different to what it used to be, and that puts the demands of what we do every single day in a different scope.
on whether Tottenham are a title rival:
They are right there now, and they merit to be where they are, so yes.

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