Press conference

'We had spirit, character, fight, leadership'

Mikel Arteta was a proud man when he walked into the Stamford Bridge press conference room on Tuesday night.

Our head coach has said that hard work is a "non-negotiable" and he could not have asked for more from our players against Chelsea.

Here's what he said:

on how proud he is...
I am [proud]. The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership was there as well. You have to really stand up. When someone makes a mistake, it can happen in football, so someone has to take a red card for him. It can happen. What cannot happen is that afterwards we don't stand up for him. Every single player did it with belief as well. I could sense it at half-time that they believed they could get back in the game. I wasn't expecting Hector to score with his left foot obviously, but I'm very pleased.

on showing fight...
Absolutely and I'm surprised as well. We're playing with a lot of young kids and what they've shown tonight is going to be a great experience for them, to keep believing that in football if you put everything in, anything can happen. In that sense, it's top.

on whether he was thinking of bringing off Martinelli for Holding...
Not Martinelli, but I did change my mind. I was thinking about that and I said, 'I don't want to send that message to the team'. We decided to keep it as we were and give them a chance. I wanted to see how they could respond to that. I didn't want to make the response for them because I want them to be accountable for what they do and I didn't want to make a decision so they wouldn't decide for themselves. It's a great response from them.

on how David Luiz is feeling...
It was a very special game for him obviously and to get sent off the way he did, he was disappointed, but at the same time he's proud of his teammates.

on whether he has any complaints about the red card...
If I have?

on whether it was double jeopardy...
I don't know. I watched it from different angles and from different angles it looked different. They made a decision and we have to accept it.

on Granit Xhaka filling in at centre back...
From day one, I spoke with him. Obviously his mind was a little bit varied after a lot of things that happened to him in his life and his family. I tried to convince him that it was the right place for him to play. I wanted to try to give him the opportunity to try to enjoy playing football again. Everything I ask him to do, every training session, he's like this and is willing to do it. Today, I knew the moment I put him there, I don't know how well he was going to do but he was going to put everything in. He was great.

on him wanting to see that attitude from every player...
Absolutely. And to transmit that to every single member of the staff and the players. He did it.

on whether this performance was what he's been seeing in training...
In terms of that, yes, in terms of things related to the game, I think we're still a long way away in many aspects that we have to improve. Without this, I think that will hold everything and will be the foundation to build what we want to build together. Without this, I think you cannot compete to any level. To do that, we have to be ruthless and it has to be every day. Without that, you don't have the mechanism to respond like they did today.

on Lacazette...
Amazing. Amazing. That's right. He sacrificed a lot for the team. Sometimes he may lack a little bit of energy at the end because he's doing extra work, but I'm so happy with him.

on what this result will do going forward...
I don't know. I hope they take it in a good way and they say, 'OK from here we move to a different level and not say that we've done it at Chelsea, now we're go somewhere else and it will be easy'. I will not let them think that.

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