Press conference

Martinelli on goal targets and World Cup hopes

Having netted five times already this season, Gabriel Martinelli has admitted he is on the right track to hit his individual targets this campaign as he aims to help fire us into the last-16 of the Europa League.

After converting a fantastic header against Nottingham Forest last weekend to go level with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus at the top of our goalscoring charts, he kept his cards close to his chest in terms of the number he was hoping to reach as the 21-year-old continues to develop into one of the division’s most exciting attacking players.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of the game against FC Zurich, he said: “I’m not going to tell you how many, but before the start of the season I was talking to my dad and said I was going to score this amount of goals and get this amount of assists, so I always try to have a number in my mind, and try to achieve it.

“I’m doing well [for far]! I hope at the end of the season I’ll reach those numbers. I came from a small club in Brazil to play for Arsenal, so it’s a big step and I knew I had to change a lot of things to improve and play here.

“I knew that, and since day one I’ve always tried to do the right things with my diet and do what I needed to do in the gym so I’ll always try to improve. Even today, I know that I have a lot of things to improve and I’ll try to be at my best.”

Gabriel Martinelli in action against PSV Eindhoven

It is a big few days for Gabi, with us aiming to remain top of our Europa League group as well as the Premier League following Sunday’s game against Chelsea, and then on Monday Brazil name their squad for the World Cup, with Martinelli, Jesus and Gabriel all hoping to be included. 

Martinelli is hoping to impress in our final two games before Tite makes his selections, having been given no indication as to whether a decision has been made yet.

“We talk a lot about it and all of us want to be there on the list and play in the World Cup,” he said. “All we can do is work hard here at Arenal and try our best to be on the list. 

“It is announced on Monday - what else can you do? I need to wait, I cannot call the manager and ask so I will wait at home with my friend, and keep my fingers crossed.”

Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari

Gabi also provided an update on his friend and teammate Pablo Mari, who is recovering at home after undergoing surgery following a stabbing in Italy.

“It was a terrible situation,” he said. “My girlfriend text me after the [PSV] game and I text him straight away to ask how he was, but I think he was without his phone. A few days later he called me and we talked a bit - he’s fine at the moment and I hope he can play and do what he loves.

“I was sad for him, and disappointed because this is not what you expect for a friend of ours. However he is fine, and that is the most important thing.”

Watch the whole press conference by pressing play on the video above

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