There were plenty of talking points when Mikel Arteta met the media after our thrilling Premier League win at Villa Park on Saturday.
Our manager was asked about topics including Jorginho’s performance, Gabriel Martinelli’s impact and the character the team showed - read on for a transcript of what Mikel had to say.
On his emotions after the match:
Now, it’s difficult because it’s been a rollercoaster and very emotional at the end. I think we showed a lot of resilience, character and quality. The context of the game was difficult, with the performance that we had against City and getting nothing out of it. Then having to come here less than 72 hours later and finding ourselves 1-0 down after five minutes. We had to play the next 90 minutes and we had some difficulties in certain periods during the first half. Individually we brought the level right down and stopped doing the simple things right. At half-time we said we had to raise the individual level, we had to look each other in the face and we had to do much more if we wanted to come out and win this game. We altered one or two things and then we produced a very strong performance and probably should have won it earlier than we did.
On if the team have regained confidence:
I feel like it’s right back with more belief than before, because you have to put performances into results. Against Brentford, we didn’t win the game because of a decision. Against Man City, we deserved more from the performance but the reality in football is the games are decided in the boxes. There are still a lot of things to improve and we have to be humble enough to see those things, recognise them, work on them because we cannot have those big margins. We don’t need to produce as much as we do in every single game to win matches. A smaller margin [of chances] should be enough to win in this league and we need to improve that.
On if we needed to raise intensity after the break:
The first goal was Ollie Watkins - we gave the ball away and then it was one pass and him attacking the space and the channel and then finishing really well. With the second one, Bukayo was half injured, it was a corner and we were not set and leading the game like we should. In the second half, it was a completely different story.
On Jorginho’s performance:
I certainly didn’t see that quality of his - scoring from deep! It’s great to do that. The biggest quality he has is he makes the rest of the people look better, better than what you actually are. He’s made a huge impact already on the boys, on the staff and hopefully our supporters can see that as well and give him the support he needs. I thought he was tremendous today.
On how Saka is:
He’s fine - he got kicked quite a lot again, but he’s going to have to deal with that, not every week, but every three days. Sometimes in training as well. It’s his game - teams are not stupid and they want to stop him. We need to protect him.
On if Saka needs more protection:
We will discuss that. We will look at the images again and report it if it’s necessary.
On if that was the comeback of champions:
You have to - at some stage you’re going to have to win games in the 94th minute or the 96th minute. You’re going to have to score from set-plays, you’re going to have to score when you’re down to 10 men. It’s about winning in any context. We always talk about that and today we had a really difficult context, especially with what happened after five minutes. The team showed a lot of emotional qualities which are needed to be up there. I’m really happy with that.
On if that was the response he wanted from Martinelli:
It wasn’t dropping him - he’s played every single minute. We have three 21 year olds leading the frontline - that’s unheard of. Leo’s been doing really well and we needed impact. I was really worried about the last 20 or 25 minutes in this game because of everything we put in on Wednesday. We needed energy and I think [Martinelli provided] it.