Press conference

Arteta on injuries, Tavares, responding to defeat

Mikel Arteta faced the media ahead of our Premier League clash with Brighton at Emirates Stadium on Saturday and discussed the state of the squad, responding to defeat at Selhurst Park, and the challenge posed by Brighton among other topics.

Read on for a full transcript:

on Monday’s game…

Monday is gone. We’re looking forward to playing in front of our fans. 

on what he learnt from Monday…

We have to play better and we have to compete much better than we did on Monday.

on Thomas Partey’s injury…

It is a little bit ambiguous, but he has a significant injury and we’ll have to keep assessing him, but he will be out for some weeks. It could be (an issue), but it could also not be because it’s an area where he had a previous injury as well and he felt it straight away. It’s not quick. 

on Kieran Tierney’s injury…

Our responsibility is to look after them when we have them here, but once they go to the national team, in this case it’s their job and responsibility to decide the team that they believe is the best to win the games and we have to try to have quick communication with the national teams, which we have, but these things happen

on Nuno Tavares proving himself…

Throughout your career you have to go through difficult moments, and he’s had some really good periods since he arrived at the club and he was playing many more minutes than he was probably expecting. That’s the life of a player, especially at that age. There’s ups and downs and we are here to try and help him and make his career better, and that’s what we’re going to do. 

on whether he is ready for it…

He is ready and he is willing, and he will be disappointed, but it’s part of the job and we have to make decisions to try to win football matches. There is nothing personal there. 

on Sambi Lokonga…

He played well a lot in the first part of the season, but obviously when you have one game a week because you don’t have European football, it’s more difficult to share the minutes because the minutes are less and there are players who haven’t had a lot of chances to play. It’s an opportunity for them to show what they can do. 

on Alexandre Lacazette’s lack of goals…

You evaluate whether you win or lose. It's not what we do, it's not our job. Laca's contribution to the team in many other ways has been phenomenal. Of course, we want the strikers to score goals and we know that when we're winning games as well and we require them to do that, so nothing has changed.

on the belief of finishing in the top four…

[The setback] has happened and it's happened with nine games to go and we have to react now. We have to show tomorrow the energy, the commitment and the passion that we want to play the game tomorrow in front of our fans. 

on how training has been…

[It's been] very good. We had to recognise why we lost the game and react and move forward as we always do. The only way we can move is forward. Now we move forward. We have to be in constant movement and the players will be ready for tomorrow.

on what he is expecting from Brighton…

What they normally do. They're a team with a lot of personality, a coach that is very willing to play, that is very aggressive in the way they press, that wants to dominate the game and they have good players to do that but they are very difficult to beat. They don't concede a lot of chances and opportunities in open play and also set pieces and they're a threat.

on whether it will be a goal fest on Saturday… 

You never know in football. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but obviously, we’re going to try score more goals and we’re certainly creating the chances to do so, but we have struggled in recent matches to put the ball in the net and we need to be more efficient in the opponent’s box and tomorrow it’s something we have to do because Brighton is a team that doesn’t concede much.

on whether our lack of goals is a worry and if he regrets letting Balogun go on loan…

I haven’t heard that question in the last six weeks so I already forgot about that question, but that’s the timing when you remind those questions it’s always after a defeat and I don’t like to comment too much.

on not losing many games recently…

That’s why we don’t get asked the question!

on how we get the best out of Tavares…

His confidence probably wasn’t the best because he wasn’t playing a lot of minutes as well and probably wasn’t at his best and he needs the rhythm, the competition and the understanding with his teammates. We have to help him to do that, but at the end of the day, when you’re in a match you have to decide if something can change the game and how can we make it better and on Monday we made that decision.

on how we get confidence into a young player like Tavares…

I don’t have just one young player, I have the youngest squad in the league so it’s in many positions in many situations, so we have experienced that and the best way to do it is give them belief and let them experience that when you feel they are prepared to that challenge.

on if Tierney will miss Scotland’s World Cup qualifiers…

I don’t know. He just had surgery yesterday, so it’s very early to understand how everything is going to develop, he’s going to be out for the period that we estimate and in which condition he will be after that period I think it’s too soon to say something else.

on whether he would be disappointed if he played those games…

I think the player has to do the maximum he can to be in the best possible condition as soon as possible, and I’m sure Kieran will do that. Once he is there let’s see if he is able to compete and with what kind of risk or not, but that should be good.

on how damaging Monday was…

Embrace the challenge. You lost, now you want to win, it’s hurting and it’s still hurting. We lost two big players, two really important players for us for sure. But whenever that happens you can’t cry for it because they are not going to be available for us. So we have to find other solutions and we have to be as good and as competitive as we have been.

on talking to Tavares….

Always I speak with the players and I spoke with Nuno because I care about how feel. We are here to help them and make their careers better. That was a decision that hurt him, obviously, but he understands that it was for the benefit of the team and he respects that. Now he needs to react to that situation because he has a great opportunity to learn a lot in that period of his career.

on letting players go in January…

I don’t know if we have to justify it, we have to make a decision based on what we see every day. How the players can contribute in the role that they have at the club, or if they cannot do it or they don’t want to do it, we find solutions and that’s what we always try to do.

on playing players out of position…

Yes it’s not like we don’t have players, we have players. We are more short in certain players where we have more injuries. It’s unlikely to happen and hasn’t happened in the seven previous months in the season, but what can you do, any team would be in trouble.

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