Press conference

'We showed dedication and the right attitude'

We ended a run of four games without victory on Sunday, with a dominant display at Bramall Lane.

Mikel Arteta was delighted with the performance, the quality of the goals, and also a first clean sheet since February, as we warmed up for Thursday’s crucial Europa League quarter-final second leg match in perfect fashion.

Here's every word from his virtual press conference:

On the win... 
We had a really strong performance. A clean sheet which was needed after a long run without it. We were very efficient, intelligent and composed with the ball, which I am very pleased with. We showed dedication, understanding and it was the right attitude so overall, I'm very happy.

On if that win will give confidence us in the Europa League...
A win always brings confidence, better spirits, better atmosphere and better energy and we'll need all that on Thursday to go through. 

On Alex Lacazette's first goal...
It was a typical Arsenal goal. I think it was really high quality and the finish from Laca and the movement was really good as well. He's playing really well at the moment, scoring goals and he's full of confidence, so he just needs to keep going.

On the injury to Bukayo Saka...
I don't know. He had to come off. He had discomfort in his thigh and it's the last thing that we need because we're missing some big players at the moment and we don't want to lose another one. Hopefully, it's not that serious. 

On the current injury problems...
Yes [I feel unlucky]. I don't know the extent [of Bukayo's injury]. I think for certain David will be out. Kieran will be out and then with Martin, we don't know yet. Bukayo, we'll see how he develops in the next few days.

on if Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard could be fit...
I don't know, I want to think yes but if I'm honest, I don't know.  

On Gabriel Martinelli's performance...
Yes, I am [delighted]. I'm asking you to be patient because we have a lot of players who are 19/20-years-old and if you compare where we are with them with other Premier League clubs, then we're at the top end. It's not common. Gabi has the right path and the right development. He's got an agreeable attitude and talent and he's got all of his future in front of him. We have to manage that and try to give him the right amount of minutes and the games for him to develop and continue to get better. 

On the fans wanting Martinelli to start…
I’m not aware because I don’t want to read that because I don’t want anything affecting me. What is affecting me is what I see every day, how he is, all the staff and what are our opinions are,  and how we want him to develop. 

On whether it will be difficult to leave him out on Thursday… 
You’re putting pressure on me now! 

On Lacazette’s form… 
Yeah, he’s in great form with a high level of confidence and he needs to keep doing it right up until the end of the season because if he’s able to continue this run, it will mean that the team is doing well and we are winning football matches. 

On whether it’s reasonable for Lacazette to score 20 goals in a season… 
It is, but he has to play 37 or 38 games! I think the players that reach those levels play almost every single game, they take penalties as well and he obviously has the quality to do it, for sure. 

On what Xhaka offers us at left back…
Well, he had a specific role today for the game because we believed that we were going to do something and he had the right qualities to develop that role. It’s a joy to work with him because if you ask him to play as a centre forward, his first reaction is ‘Yeah, yeah, I can do it and I will do my best’. So that’s the players that you want and I think today he had a really strong performance, and he gives another option. Kieran is out probably for the season, so we need options in this position and he can be one of those.

On the players who operate behind the strikers…
Yes, we are developing the team in the way we want. Today we played in a slightly different way because of the how they play and the players that we have available. And they were good because the whole process, with our high press, our starting line and the way we do it, and the difference between our lines was really good, and with the ball, because the first process was clean. And when everything is clean we have the next line, and we have the strikers to get on the ball with the right timing and the right space, and today they did that, and that's why as a team we had a really good cohesion.

On whether Lacazette's all-round game and leadership gets overlooked…
I don't know but I've seen that in the last six or seven months, I've seen a big change from him. How's he's interacting with people, how he's communicating with his team-mates and the leadership he is taking on the pitch and off the field as well. And that's really positive. He is a player with a huge experience, he has been here long enough to start to develop those qualities and we need those types of characters in the team.

On whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be back for Thursday…
I hope so yes. He was unwell yesterday, he could not train, he could not be available today but hopefully in the next day or two he will be feeling better and he will be available to get picked.

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