Arsenal v Newcastle

Press conference

Arteta on Newcastle, Lacazette, Wenger and more

Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Thursday morning as he looked ahead to our match against Newcastle United.

The boss discussed the latest team news, Alex Lacazette, the reaction to our defeat at Anfield and Arsene Wenger.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the latest team news…

No, no news. Everyone is fine so far.

on Granit Xhaka’s fitness…

Hopefully he will be a little bit sooner than expected, he is training and pushing himself and all the staff so hard like he always does. He is in a good place, he is evolving well and hopefully we can have him a little bit earlier. It is still a bit early to decide.

on whether it could be before the end of the year...

I hope so, yes.

on whether he's seen a determination in training among the squad to bounce back...

Not only there, I really liked the reaction that we had already in the dressing room at Anfield after the game. How some players took leadership and described what happened in a really honest way, and looked forward. This is not something that in a season it will never be like this, there are always bumps in the road, there are results, there injuries, there are issues you have to deal with and I really like how the team has reacted through the week.

on the players speaking up in the dressing room afterwards...

This is something that before it didn't happen, and I am really pleased it is happening at the moment.

on who the players were...

No, never on what happens in the dressing room!

on the reaction...

We have to show it on Saturday, in front of our people and go into that game with that mentality and the preparation is important but what is more important is perform well, play as good as we can and then we will be close to winning the match.

on taking the positives from the Anfield game...

Absolutely. There are a lot of things you can learn, you see the standards you have to raise to compete with those teams in that league, and how consistent they do it for every game, but as well how consistent they do it throughout the game. They dominate every area, and that's why they've been so successful.

on Newcastle's poor record at the Emirates...

Let's keep that going! But it is a new game, obviously there are so changes happening there, you can see the momentum that is building and it is different. You see the last game they played as well, you saw some different things: new manager, new coaching staff, so let's be prepared.

on Eddie Howe's appointment...

That's what they have decided. I admired Eddie for what he has done in the league, his style of play and the coaching staff as well, so I'm sure they will be fully prepared.

on how difficult it is for Howe to manage the team when he has to isolate...

We have the technology now to try to do as much as we can, but I would imagine he found it really hard as well for the moment he joined for that to happen. I think it was very [unfortunate] but I'm sure they found a way.

on whether he rang Mikel for advice...

No, he didn't.

on Jack Wilshere's being complimented by the academy players...

I think it's a great compliment for Jack that the players that are playing alongside him think that way of him. He is doing really well, he is doing better and better and we know the qualities that Jack has.

on the flashpoint with Jurgen Klopp...

I think you have to be spontaneous, and do what you do. I will always defend my club, my team and the players on the pitch.

on the game against Newcastle...

Really looking forward to the game. After a defeat we want to play straight away in a different context. We are on a good run, we play at home, we will have our people right behind us and we are going to perform well. First of all play as well as we can and then we will be closer to winning the match.

on seeing Joe Willock again…

Yeah, I think it will be really nice to have him, we all love and like Joe. Obviously it was a difficult decision to make to let him go, but I think he’s shown that’s what he needs as well to play the minutes that he’s finding there and find a new challenge.

on if he’s spoken to Joe…

Yes, not this week, but I have done it before and he knows the reception he’s going to get.

on what the players thought of the flashpoint with Klopp

I don’t know, it’s who I am. If I feel like this, I will react and if I feel I have to defend my players then I would do it.

on why he isn’t as fiery in a press conference…

Well I don’t know, maybe you don’t give me enough motives to go another way! But it’s part of our character.

on how important wing backs have become…

Well I think the fact that you have players in your backline that can become a real threat, that they can make good decisions, that they can contribute with key moments in the game in your attacking phase is obviously really important and we have a few of them and it’s another weapon.

on if Newcastle’s position reflects their ability…

For what I’ve seen of them, no, and for what I’ve seen of them in the last few games as well, there were crucial moments in games where the game could have gone in a completely different way. We know the attacking threat that they have, they have players that can hurt you in the last 30 metres of the pitch and we’re gonna have to be really conscious of that and play as well as we can.

on our defensive unit growing together…

Obviously their age, how they complement their qualities and as well the chemistry that they are building it’s really important and it’s rare to see it that early, but they are enjoying playing together and this is something really important and we have to keep evolving, not only with them, but with every player that is involved in those positions.

on managing the squad during the Christmas period…

Absolutely, the minutes and the performance level of the individuals and the impact that you can have off the bench, the moment you want to change the team, the alternatives that you need because normally in this period injuries start to come, suspensions, we already have a few players close to that, so everybody has to be ready because it’s going to be key, the contribution that they can make to sustain the level and results.

on the recent fan-led review, and if he feels like football needs to change...

There is a movement there, and probably in the next few years there’s going to be some changes. I think it’s a bit early to talk about that. We have to read through it properly and see what we want as a club, and which sides we’re going to position ourselves in. There is a movement, and (like) everything, I think football will evolve in one direction. Hopefully the right one.

on whether the club opposed the Newcastle takeover...

I cannot say much. I think we have regulators that have to decide who can own a football club or not. They’ve gone through the system, and now Newcastle have new owners. I think they have fulfilled the critereas needed, and that’s it. That’s what the regulators should do.

on his personal view of the takeover…

I think we are guided by the regulators, and whatever we think is better or not is not very relevant.

on Lacazette being able to talk to foreign clubs in January...

That’s a position that’s happening more and more in football. He is not the only one, we have a few. That’s something we have to deal with - with contracts that they were coming from a few years ago - with certain particularities. We knew that was the case. I have already spoken with them individually about how we have to handle those situations the best possible way, and that’s it.

on whether he’s concerned about the contract situation…

It’s the situation that we have, whether you are concerned or not. Things have happened in the last few seasons for different players, where those possibilities are there. Sometimes the club has more control and sometimes the player has some more control. The important thing is that communication is clear, and the intentions of both parties – while they are together – are very clear.

on what those intentions are…

That the demands don’t change. Whether you have a 6 month, or 6 year contract you are still employed at the club. You are here because you are willing to be here, and you have to perform at a ten, and there is nothing different with respects to anybody.

on whether there has been a formal offer to Arsene Wenger for him to return…

Well there has been communication, and I saw him and talked to him when we went to see the film. It was incredibly pleasant to see him and chat to him – and hopefully we can bring him close. Because I think he will have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him (and) around this place. Because of the respect and admiration that everybody at the club has for what he’s done – and as well for what he represents as a person in this club.

on what his role would be if he did return…

I cannot tell you now, but what I can say is that I would like him to be much closer personally to me. Because I think it would be a great help – and it would be a great help for the club. Things take time, and I think he has to dictate those timings. What I can say is from my side and I can talk I think on behalf of everybody that we would be delighted to have him much closer.

06:28

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