Press conference

Every word of Mikel’s pre-Wolves press conference

Mikel Arteta spoke to the media on Friday afternoon for his pre-Wolves press conference.

He was asked about the latest team news, the passing of former chairman Sir Chips Keswick, our recent form and more.

Here is everything he had to say at Sobha Realty Training Centre...

on the past week:
As an experience it wasn’t the best one. A defeat in the league and a defeat in the Champions League but I’m fully focused on the times that we have ahead of us with six games to go. We are a game behind City and we’re going to give it a real go.

on the context of our next game, Wolves away:
The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league. That’s the context, we don’t need anything else to be motivated or to go to that game with our minds clear and our purpose very, very clear.

on the passing of Sir Chips Keswick:
To his family, I’m very grateful. When he was chairman I was captain and he’s a personal figure that was very well respected and loved around the football club. He did so many incredible things to keep evolving and progress this football club with very integral and good values. May he rest in peace.

on how he has seen the team grown and develop psychologically:
It’s been a very intense journey and we deserve to be at the top fighting at such a level so you’re going to have to go through that. This job, this industry is constantly testing your resilience and your ego. Things go well and things don’t go well and you have to be able to navigate and go through those moments in a natural way, understanding the context and looking at the positives. That’s the best thing you can do, to learn and look forward.

on Timber’s role when he returns to the team:
He plays in both positions right and left full-back in relation to the game and the players we have available.

on how to adapt to Saka and Odegaard being targeted:
They are constantly targeted like all the best players, like any other opponent. We always try to find ways to prepare the games to try to help them. If they try to do certain things to stop us, to find other ways, spaces, combinations, this is a journey because there’s always something that they try and you have to adapt it and make it work.

on if this game is too soon for Timber:
It is too soon. He’s going to play a game with the under-21s and after that we will see better where he is, how he felt. He looks really good in training but it’s that last step now. We need to have the certainty that he’s ready to go.

on if everyone else is okay:
The rest are all good.

on if our recent blip compares to last season:
It’s what it is. We have to accept it. Especially the Bayern one at home in the beginning it could’ve been very different. Even away I think we were the better team, we should’ve won the game, we didn’t and in the second half we paid the price for that with the chances that we gave them basically and we have to move from there. We don’t have to talk too much, it’s about showing against Wolves what we are made of to turn this situation around and it can look really positive.

on if we don’t win tomorrow:
I don’t think about it. I think about winning tomorrow. Not if! Sorry!

on wanting to close the gap and not fall away:
It hasn’t been good because of the results. It’s been very good in other experience and in other situations we’ve done really well and who knows how good it’s going to be for us at Wolves to fight better for the Premier League. I don’t know, nobody knows.

on the FA Cup not having replays going forward:
We cannot only look at that in an isolated way but with the calendar that we have in the next few seasons, obviously we have to think with the amount for the players it’s a very good possibility.

on if he sympathises with EFL clubs complaining about FA Cup replays being scrapped:
I understand every point of view. Mine is to protect our players and the amount of minutes and games they’ve played in the last two season is not great. If they have to play that much in the next two years it’s not healthy for sure, so somewhere we have to reduce the calendar.

on whether Arsenal are on a similar journey to Klopp’s Liverpool:
Well, you know that the better you become and the closer you are to fighting with the best teams that this league have ever had, not now, but in the history of the Premier League, you know what the margins are. And we've been at the top for many, many months in the 24 months, there is only one way or two that you can, you stay there or you go down. There's only one winner, so if you want to be in that mix, you have to cope with any situation that comes attached to that, because not everything is a disappointment, but if you want to not be in the Champions League for seven years, to fight for the league two years in a row, tell me a team that has done that?

on any regrets about not giving certain players more game time:
It is a possibility, that is always going to come when you lose a game, because when we beat Brighton and had an unbelievable week and everybody was talking about us winning the league, nobody asked this question. That is part of our industry.

on the job that Gary O'Neill has done at Wolves:
Unbelievable, so good. And you can tell how well they are coached, the spirit of the team, the difficulty that they create against every opponent, really good side and it will be really tough tomorrow, we have prepared really good in that last two days, we had a great training session today. 

on the criticism on the team having bad results in April:
Well, a lot of times because the margins and the things that you are competing with are decided between that month and May, but before that you have to be nine months extremely consistent with that and let's see, let's see what we can do now, to fight for what we want which is to win the Premier League.

on how long it takes to figure out what goes wrong after losing matches:
Sometimes it happens within a minute, sometimes a minute after the game and sometimes years later, I cannot tell you. And as well, that perspective changes. Sometimes the impression that you have after the game becomes really different after two weeks, three weeks, four weeks looking at it with a little bit of perspective. Certainly, it's something that you have to do, because it helps you to learn, and to be better and to have better tools to decide the next time.

on the worry for demands on players with the football calendar:
Yes, obviously the calendar continues to be more and more demanding, more games, more competition, less rest, so we have two options, we refuse that or we have more players in the squad and to be able to do that as well your financial capacity has to be much better because what you cannot drop is the level. We have a level that is unbelievable in the Premier League and the teams that are competing and this cannot be dropped, we have to find a solution for that and the players have to be listened to much more because they are the protagonists.

on his message to the players after a difficult week.:
Fully behind them, thank you so much for the journey we are having together, thank you so much for being in April, the quarter-final of the Champions League and being so close, competing against the best team in the history of the Premier League and the best team in the last eight years in this competition with Liverpool and to be there with a chance to win it. So thank you so much to everything they have done because it’s unbelievable.

on whether fatigue has been impacted by the football calendar:
Sometimes the opponent as well, the opponents play and they are very good and you have to congratulate them, sometimes it’s my fault not pushing, not making the right call, sometimes the players won't have that spark. But it will not happen if we score two goals, three goals, four goals against Aston Villa in the first half. Or two or three against Bayern Munich in the first half like we did against Brighton, we did before. Who knows? That game state is so important in football and you have to recognise that, you can’t just isolate a moment and make an evaluation, it’s too simplistic.

on whether the amount of minutes our players have played impacted recent results:
I don't know, when you look at the schedule that Bayern had and we had, and the amount of games that they play, and they rest ten players nine days ago, and then rest three days before the game, another nine players, this is different. But in these leagues, they do what they do, which is they cancel the games, or they bring them forward to have more rest for the Champions League. And we are not doing that, and we're putting even more and more pressure on ourselves. This is what we have, it's not an excuse, it's a reality. 

on whether the Premier League should allow schedule changes like other leagues:
I think you want to compete in the same condition. I think we should be able to have at least the same amount of recovery between games. That's at least something that we can do.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Friendly Match
Ticket Info