Press conference

Every word of Mikel's pre-Oxford press conference

Ahead of our trip to the Kassam Stadium on Monday night where we'll face Oxford United in the FA Cup, Mikel Arteta held his usual pre-match press conference.

He tackled questions from the journalists in attendance, including about his enjoyment of the competition, his touchline behaviour, our opponents and the No More Red campaign.

Here is everything he had to say:

on how much he’s looking forward to getting our FA Cup campaign underway:
Very much. It is obviously a competition that is attached to the successful history of this club, so on Monday we’ll have a good start and a good test.

on any fresh team news:
No, there’s no worries.

What he’s made of Oxford:
It’s always tricky, I’ve played there a few times and have experienced very difficult matches, so it will be difficult. We have to take the competition and the opponent very seriously and play well, to a high level to win the match.

on the importance of the No More Red campaign:
It’s great. I think the support the club have given to the community and vice-versa, and the fact that we are constantly doing these kind of things is very important. It helps keep a lot of people - especially young people - safe in our community.

on if there are any transfer updates:
There are no updates.

on juggling the demand of another cup competition:
It is a competition that we are really looking forward to play in, and brings back huge memories to our football club and the team, because not many years ago we won it, but also last year how we went out of the competition. It’s a competition that we really want to play in and compete.

on if the ambition is to win it again this year:
The ambition is to win on Monday first, and then go slowly because it’s a long run.

on what he’s expecting from Oxford:
It will be difficult. From what we’ve seen they’ve played in different ways, and result-wise as well they’ve had a bit of everything. It’ll be a very special night and everybody will raise their level and it will be tough.

on where Emile Smith Rowe might play when he returns:
Emile can play as an attacking midfielder, as a winger and even as a nine; I think he’s played there before. First of all, we need him fit and at his best, and when we have that, we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot in the last few months. Tomorrow he trains well, he will hopefully be available to give us something in the game.

on whether there is still value for money in the January window:
Valuations have to be made between the selling club and the buying club, and it is difficult but it shows there are a lot of clubs with a lot of financial power to spend big amounts, and we have to compete with them. To be smart, we have to see good opportunities and we have to be attractive for players. At the end of the day, players decide where they want to play, and if they want to play for our club, that is great.

on the debate surrounding his touchline behaviour:
I’m not part of that debate. I think publicly they can have their opinions. I try to do my best for this football club, to defend it, to promote it, to play with the passion I believe the game has to be played with. There are moments - it is not the way I behaved against West Ham, every game is special. Every manager behaves differently regarding the circumstances. You cannot take the context out of a situation - I don’t think that is fair. That’s me! Whether I am here or on the pitch, that’s me - the good and the bad!

on if he is trying to give instructions or encouragement on the touchline:
It depends, the other day it wasn’t very focused on that, it was focused on other aspects.

on if he thinks his behaviour impacts the players:
That’s not for me to say. I hear a lot of times that this team is the mirror of the coach, or the passion - I don’t know.

on if he is going to change:
That’s me! I will always try to be better. Whatever I do, if it is tomorrow or the next day, is to make the club stronger, my players better, play better and win. So if I have to do something, I will do it. If I have to change something, believe me, I will look in the mirror at myself and I will change it very quickly.

on whether he had managers on the touchline while he was playing:
It’s different now. I remember a lot of managers, I had one in particular who was incredible but it’s different. There are moments. One man is not the same 20 years later because of the circumstances, not just the age.

on if the criticism annoys him:
To be fair I have not read it. Is the criticism negative or positive, because criticism is not always negative, it can be very positive.

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