Straight after landing in Eindhoven ahead of tomorrow's crucial Europa League game against PSV, Mikel Arteta was whisked off to undertake his pre-match media duties.
The boss chatted to the gathered British and Dutch media about the game, as well as a host of other topics.
Here is everything he had to say:
on Albert Stuivenberg returning to his homeland:
He’s very important. He’s someone I’ve known for a long time and is very important in everything we do. He’s an excellent human being first, someone that has a very special way of understanding the game. He’s been raised in a culture that was very similar to the way I was raised so we share a lot of ideas. He’s got huge experience at international level and at academy level and at club level, so he adds a lot of value for the team.
on Ruud van Nistelrooy suggesting PSV have surrendered top spot:
Last week we made the first step to qualify to the next round, and now we need to win tomorrow because we want to finish first.
on if there are any injury problems for this game:
We had Marquinhos who wasn’t feeling good today and he hasn’t travelled, but the rest are OK.
on picking strong teams in the Europa League:
We don’t have that many players! We bring the players that we have and we have brought four kids with us so we cannot even make up the squad, but we need to put 11 players out and they need to play - we cannot change those 11 players every game.
on Edu’s importance to the club:
I hope that he stays here for a long time because I think it’s going to be a really positive thing for the club. I’ve work with him really well and I think he’s a super important figure at the club that represents all of the values and ideas that we want to take the right way, and hopefully that will be the case.
on if he works with him day-to-day:
Yes! There is a lot happening at a football club and he has a huge role, but he has a really good way of communicating with people and managing a lot of things that happen daily, so for me and for the team he’s really important.
on if he clicked with Edu straight away:
I think it has to be in that relationship. First of all, it has to be well-respected and the rules have to be really clear. You have to share the same ideas but at the same time you have to challenge each other because sometimes coaches have all the ideas and we want something right now, but it might not be the best thing for the club.
We have the right balance - not only with Edu but with Vinai, Rich and Tim in this case with the ownership. It’s really important that at the end when we make a decision, it is all together - it’s not your decision or my idea and in good and difficult moments to all be together.
on how he keeps players happy:
Play them and then let them speak on the pitch. The best way.
on the FA not taking any further action on the Henderson-Gabriel incident:
I said from the first day that that is a decision that lies totally with the FA and they have made that decision, and that’s it.
on if Gabriel is ok with the ruling:
That’s something to ask Gabi, but the decision is made.
on how the last few weeks have been with the investigation going on:
It is an investigation that has been run by them [the FA], so there is nothing for me to comment on that. It is something private and I prefer to make no comment.
on Sambi Lokonga’s recent displays:
We’ll see more, and he has to prove that what he’s asking for he can produce on the pitch. We’re looking for every single player to raise their level and get the right competition in the team, and when you play and perform in a way that we win and play well enough to win games.
on the importance of winning the group with big teams potentially dropping out of the Champions League:
This competition is getting harder and harder and how it looks today and what the possibilities are, it looks like the next round will be extremely competitive. That’s why finishing first in the group and avoiding another two games is such an important thing for us.
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