Press conference

Every word of Mikel Arteta’s pre-West Ham presser

Mikel Arteta spoke to the media at London Colney for his pre-West Ham United press conference ahead of our League Cup meeting with the Hammers on Wednesday.

He was asked about the importance of the competition, our team news, Declan Rice's return to London Stadium and more.

Here's everything he had to say on the following subjects:

on team selection and if it is impacted by our upcoming game against Newcastle United:
Nothing. We just have to beat West Ham. It’s a competition that we have the chance to progress and win a trophy and our mindset is going to be focused just on West Ham.

on the importance of this competition and what it can do for the players:
Doing what we are doing being consistent and playing better than the opponent, tomorrow against West Ham is going to be a really tough game. It always is away from home against them and we want to continue with the momentum and form that we’re in. That’s it.

on if it’s a similar approach to our last cup game against Brentford:
Yes and the context is a bit different because we’ve got some injuries. We don’t have too much availability in terms of the squad but I prepare the game in the same way we did there to try to win it.

on if Declan Rice is likely to feature against his former club:
He’s likely. He’s fit and can be involved. It will be his first time back at his old club and a beautiful moment I think for him.

on if going back to his former club can be helpful for us:
I think it’s beautiful. I had the experience to do it a few times and then you really see what they think of you and what you left at the club. It’s a really good way to measure your experience and your reality within the reality of the people who share moments with you.

on if he will get a good reception there:
I would say so. I hope so. Especially, every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him and everybody at the club, he cannot talk any higher, so hopefully they will be the same way towards him.

on Eddie’s hat-trick and if we have to manage his minutes or continue his momentum:
Both. We have to be conscious of the amount of minutes that they play. He has started a lot of games in the Premier League but I think in terms of how we utilise him, I think he’s fresh and in a really good moment. Players like Eddie have to be used, whether we do it as a starter or on the bench. We will see.

on if Messi winning the Ballon d’Or was the right decision:
When you talk about Messi, it can never be wrong. What he’s done; he’s won the World Cup, at his age, it was the pinnacle of his career. Everybody was expecting it, it’s just incredible. The consistency that he has shown, the level that he has put world football into, it’s incredible. I’m so glad as well that we had a few nominated in those lists.

on our players who were involved in the shortlist:
[It gives us] Pride. It’s always good to see yourself there next to those names and in those lists, so it’s a compliment for them for what they’ve done. Now the challenge is to be higher up the list next season because that would mean that you’ve done it again.

on if Martin will be rested:
We rested him the other day, so it’s how long we rest him for and how we manage him now with the minutes and the rhythm that he needs as well to be at his best. So, yeah, we had the opportunity to do it and we didn’t use him at the end, that was a good upload for him.

on if rest is the only way to treat his injury:
It’s not only that, but there’s also a lot of things that you have to do. It’s impossible to play with no niggles in football, and at this level, when you have games every three days, it’s impossible. If you try to do that, you better stay in bed, because I don’t know any players who are constantly perfect and to be in the best possible condition, so you have to adapt to that.

on if he should be commended for wanting to play on despite the injury:
Every player is the same, you know. They are willing to push the boundaries. We have players who have been six weeks out and they were back in either three-and-a-half or four weeks for big matches and made an incredible impact. When you talk about changes in the mentality, this is a big thing. Not only him, but all the physios and doctors, and everybody pushing you in the same direction. Your team-mates pushing you to demand you to be there, because you are needed, and that’s what we need.

on Jesus and if there is a timeframe for his return:
With him, I’m honestly not going to put any because I did it once and got it totally wrong. We need to be cautious because we need to treat it in the right way. He’s already pushing everybody and wants to be back as quickly as possible, and we need him, so that’s great.

on experience in the midfield and the importance of having older players:
It is. I think age is something, but after the experiences that those boys had, and the human qualities of those are exceptional. So, you just mentioned Mo; the way he lifted us for those six or seven minutes on the pitch, after 10 months out, the way everybody looks at him is just fundamental for me. I always said that he’s one of the most important players because of what he brings to the team, even when he’s not playing every week.

on if those players can be replaced with experienced players or if that can be grown from within our team:
Yes, for sure, and that would be part of the other plan. I think it’s something critical for our squad, and as well that the squad is designed, and the profiles that we have, that they have always played as role models, off the field, but very important as well that those players can be respected for what they do on the pitch. We have a few of them that are really good.

on Charlie Patino’s progress at Swansea and if there is a future for him at Arsenal:
There is always a pathway to get back and when we make decisions on those players it is always to keep an eye on them and see if we can evolve the squad in a way, and the first thing that we do is look internally.

on if there is a timescale for Thomas Partey’s injury:
I think he will be out for weeks - I don’t know how long but he’s got another appointment today and we will see more after that.

on if there is a wider concern about his injury record:
It is a big concern because when Thomas is fit and available and he’s been part of the team, we’ve seen the results and the impact that he had. This season we have more protection especially for that reason because we know in the last two seasons what has happened and the result it had on the team. We had to address that and now it has happened. It can happen in football and I’m so sorry for him because I think he is doing every single thing he can do right to be there. He was gutted and we are for him, but he needs to lift himself up again with our support and go again because he’s a player that is critical for us.

on the importance of the Carabao Cup and if it matters to him:
Yes, I live it exactly the same as a Premier League game. I have the same feeling in my tummy, the same uncertainty and the same way to prepare and I’m going to be there closer to the game. I just want to win the game, for sure.

on if he thinks winning the Carabao Cup could be a stepping stone to bigger prizes:
I do. Even if you are doing rotation, the role of the players that are committed to challenging for this trophy or this game, I think it’s critical for them to show what they can do when they are really important and given the chance. When they are in or out, how are you going to approach the game and are you going to win the game for the team?

I think if you want to grow as a team and you don’t have that mindset, it is very difficult so the mindset of every three days and being able to do it in different ways and different contexts when you have a big game next week, or we just played in the Champions League or another big game here, it’s: ‘OK, what is the behaviour of the team and how they respond to that.’ I think it’s very important.

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