Press conference

Transcript: Arteta on the win, Smith Rowe, Europe

It's been a good few days on the pitch for Mikel Arteta.

After leading us to a 3-1 first-leg lead over Olympiacos in Athens, our manager returned to Emirates Stadium to win his first north London derby since taking the reins.

And after the game, Arteta was asked about our performance, Bukayo Saka's fitness, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.

Here's what he had to say:

on closing out the game...
For sure we didn't [close out the game]. We managed those 10 minutes really, really badly. We put ourselves in trouble and we gave them hope. After that [red card], you should have 200 passes in the opponent's half, give the ball and attack in the right moment. It's a big lesson. It's great to get those lessons when you are winning. That's the biggest lesson.

on Bukayo Saka's substitution...
We don't know. He was feeling his hamstring, so we will monitor that.

on the team's mentality...
We started the game really strongly. We were really dominant, played in the opposition's half, regaining the ball really quickly, creating chances. Lamela scores an incredible goal, really an incredible, unique, talented piece. After that, we had to react. Obviously mentally it's not easy. When you played two games ago, it's not easy but I loved the way the team reacted, with the courage they continued to play with, the belief that I was sensing from the touchline.

on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's absence...
I made what I thought was the right decision. We draw a line there. Now let's move on again. We know how important Auba is for us, for the club. That's it. That's been dealt with so let's move on.

on whether Aubameyang accepted his punishment...
I hope he did, yeah.

on what this result can do for the next few weeks...
Hopefully it will increase the level of confidence in the team and the belief that we can play really well against any opponent, that we can beat big teams as well, and to maintain this together with the same belief. We know that we have to put together four or five wins in a row to give ourselves any chance of looking up in the table but we are ready for a fight.

on Emile Smith Rowe...
I think he had a magnificent performance again as well. I think he shows not only quality but his personality, his intelligence on the pitch, his energy. He gives us something different. Today in a derby you need some individual performances and for sure he had one.

on his view of the penalty...
My first thought was that there was some contact. I asked the bench and they said that it was a penalty but I haven't seen the match back so I cannot really comment on that.

on whether we can still qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish...
I think while it's mathematically possible, we're going to believe and we're going to give it a go for sure. We know that we have to be extremely consistent to have any chance in the next two or three matches to be very close to them. But we're going to give it a go and keep trying, going game by game.

on whether Aubameyang will still be our captain...
We deal with the situation on the day. That's been done. Now we move on. We know how important Auba is to us and he will continue to be really important. That's it, no more comments.

on why his behavioural standards are so high...
Because for me it's the foundations and the platform that we can build something medium and long term that is sustainable. That can bring us joy and happiness. Without that, I don't believe that it would happen. That's why I keep talking about it and acting on it.

on Martin Odegaard's performance...
He's got a real stamina and he's so talented, but his work-rate is incredible. Not only that, he's intelligent. The timing of his runs, when he presses, his body shape. I'm really impressed and he had an incredible performance today. He's giving us something different and it's making us better.

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