Press conference

Every word from Mikel's pre-PSV press conference

Ahead of our opening Champions League group game against PSV Eindhoven, media from around the world headed to London Colney to hear Mikel Arteta’s pre-match press conference.

The boss was asked about numerous topics, including his emotions ahead of his managerial debut in the competition, and gave an update on Gabriel Martinelli’s injury among other topics.

Here is everything he had to say:

how he feels ahead of his first Champions League game as a manager:

Proud and excited. It’s been a long time for the club since we have been in the competition and obviously it’s the first time for me as a manager, so I’m really looking forward to it.

on whether that’s the same for the players:

Yes because we’ve been chasing it and fighting for it and now we've got it, we have to make the most out of it. It starts at home and I'm sure our supporters are going to be really excited about it and it's about managing that and enjoying the challenge.

on Gabriel Martinelli’s injury status:

He felt something in his hamstring and we need to do some further tests to assess if there is any big damage or not but he will be out for tomorrow’s game, that’s for sure.

on whether he’ll be fit for the Tottenham game:

It's a possibility but we don’t know yet. We need some more tests and see what happens.

on whether he’ll say who’ll start in goal, as he usually doesn’t divulge team news:

It’s the same answer!

on if he is confident of progressing from the group:

That's what we want to do, but this is football and tomorrow we're going to play against a really good team. They haven't lost a game [this season] and they have won the majority of them, and they are used to winning like every other team that is in the Champions League. It will be a really tough test, I'm sure about that.

on the importance of senior players who have played in the competition before:

It's great to have that mixture and the excitement it creates of playing for the first time, I sense it. We have players that have played in it for many years, and some of them have won it. It's just mixing that experience and deciding to make your debut in the right way to perform at the highest level.

on if he was surprised by the reaction to his goalkeeping switch on Sunday:

No because I respect opinions and I understand the questions and I understand historically what what happens. For me, there is no nothing different. We've been doing it for many years - when Bernd [Leno] was here, we brought Aaron in and I don't see any differences, but it is my job. I have to answer the questions in the best and most honest way, and as a manager my job is to do what I feel is the best for the team and for the club, not for me.

on the importance of our supporters tomorrow:

We will see tomorrow night but I'm sure it will be an incredible atmosphere and they will create a special night. I’ve played in a few of them with the club and I have beautiful memories of them, so we’re waiting for it.

on the role Martin Odegaard has had in our rebuilding process:

He is our captain and a really important player for us and a player who has developed, evolved and been on this journey with us together now for a few years. He's been instrumental in everything that we've done and building the culture that we wanted and recruiting the profile and the players with the right specificity to play the way we want to play and obviously then, the level that he has performed at has been in a really consistent way.

on Mohamed Elneny being the only player who remains from our last Champions League campaign:

He’s still young though! He’s in a good place, obviously it’s been a while and it’s been a very significant injury but I think he's in the latter stages of that rehab process. He’s been training for almost two weeks with the team and he is in a good place. It’s always great to have him around.

on whether there will be nerves heading into this game:

We have to treat it like any other game. We are used to playing top opposition every week in the Premier League and tomorrow again we're going to have a top side fighting against us. The good thing is that we experience that every three or four days in the Premier League, so it won’t be any different tomorrow.


on the response from Aaron Ramsdale: 

I don't want to talk about the response of every single player in this squad whether they play or not - sorry.


on Fabio Vieira starting at Everton:

I said many times that I hadn't played Fabio enough and he hadn't had enough room in the team with the competitions that we played to participate more. But every day, we see the talent that he’s got and what he can bring to the team. I was really happy with his performance at the weekend.


on juggling Premier League and Champions League and keeping players happy:

To be happy, they have to play and they have to feel important. They have to feel valued and they have to feel that we trust them. It’s the only way to do it. I will try to do that in the best possible way, maximizing them to get the best possible performance. That's it.


on Champions League moments from previous seasons and wanting to be part of it:

Every time I watched it and we weren’t there, I felt it. I think you put pressure on yourself.  This club has to be in the Champions League. When I have the job that I have, I have the responsibility to try to bring the club to the biggest stages, to the biggest tournament and then be fighting for them. It was a process but now we are here, we have to make the most out of it. 


on our journey to return to the Champions League:

I think it’s a learning process. When you're looking to achieve, you have to take some lessons from that. I think we did that and we got better as a team and we did the right things as well to improve the squad. Now we are here and I think we fully deserve to be here. 


on whether we have something to prove in Europe:

Every day you have something to prove. Tomorrow I have to prove that we have prepared in the best possible way and that we are giving the players the best possible chance to play as well as we possibly can to win the game. That's the reality of the sport.


on stylistic differences between Ramsdale and Raya:

It’s not something I want to get into. I don’t speak about how different Eddie is to Martinelli or to Reiss. Every player has a different personality and different characteristics.


on PSV and if he knows Mexican player Losano:

Every player is dangerous at this level. Tomorrow, we will have a lot of things that we have to control but I think the main thing is that we focus on ourselves and play at the level that we have to play to earn the right to win the game. 

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