Press conference

'When Bould talks, you listen very carefully'

Shkodran Mustafi arguably delivered one of his finest performances in an Arsenal shirt last weekend as we drew 1-1 with Liverpool.

The World Cup winner was in imperious form, and he says he has learnt a great deal from working alongside legendary centre back Steve Bould.

This is what Mustafi told the media ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Sporting CP:

on Steve Bould's influence…
Steve is always there, always giving us a hand. With his experience, when he tells you something he sees in training, you listen very carefully. With his experience, you have to listen to him. I don’t feel that he’s now trying to create something new. He looks carefully at what we do, especially when things are wrong. When things are going good, it’s easy to not look at the small mistakes but he still looks at everything and when he sees something where we can improve, he’s always there to try and give us a hand.

on what Emery has added…
For me personally, the biggest thing was that he’s someone who really knows what he wants from each player. He tells you exactly what he wants you to do, but gives you freedom to expose your talent. When we don’t have the ball, he tells you where to stand and how to get it back, when we have it, he gives you options you can use. You can decide which option you choose. For me it’s a good mix between freedom and discipline, and having the same plan in the whole team. I think that’s what we saw against Liverpool. That was the first game where I felt like we came out from the first minute and were everywhere until the 90th minute. I feel like there’s a good mix between discipline and freedom.

on if the team is more defensively solid this season…
I think that we are very good [when] attacking, and that makes the defensive work a bit easier. When you attack well, and even when we lose the ball, we press straight away to win the ball back high up the pitch. That makes it easier for us to defend because you don’t always have to go back 60 or 70 yards back to win it in your own box. We are very good at attacking but with that, we still prepare being in the right position to recover when we lose the ball as quickly as possible.

on the balance of the side…
I think the midfield players are defensively minded when they have to be. When we have the ball, the players try to create something up front. We try to work as a team, building up from the back. We play forward from the back. When we don’t have it, we press and defend from the front. When we have the ball, we are all offensive players. When we lose the ball, we are all defensive players.

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