Press conference

Arteta on the win, finishing fifth and transfers

Mikel Arteta admitted he was still feeling the pain of Monday’s defeat to Newcastle, despite just witnessing his side cruise to a thumping final day win.

The loss at St James’s Park meant finishing in the top four was only a remote possibility going into Sunday’s fixture with Everton, and the boss says he will take stock of the season in the coming days.

Speaking to the media after the game, he also discussed players’ futures, the win, and looked ahead to next season.

Here’s every word from his post-match press conference.

on his thoughts after a good win…
We did what we had to do. Basically we knew that it was in our hands that we needed a miracle, and it didn’t occur. That’s it, the league table at the end of the season doesn’t lie. It’s true, that last year with 67 points, Chelsea was in the Champions League, we have 69 and we out of it. But that is the level, and the demands that this league has now. 

on the progress the team has made, despite the final league position…
Well we tried to give to the fans, and what we knew the result as well, everything that they deserve, everything that they have done for us, and how much they have helped us to come much further as a club and as a team. I cannot assess today the season, I’m sorry. I am still in a lot of pain after what happened on Monday, and I would like to have a fair assessment on what we’ve done. What I can guarantee you is that I have - we have - tried to squeeze the lemon as much as we possibly can, to every single drop, and we reached to the point where we reached. I know - I think we all know, and you can see the reaction from the fans towards the team - that you see what we have on the pitch, and what this club has (achieved) ten years ago, twenty years ago - and we know where we have to go. We are not going to stop it. I am extremely disappointed today, because we had generated expectations that we wanted, that I wanted for this football club, because it’s what it deserves. At the end we came short and that feeling of guilt and not reaching that level, is painful. 

on whether he gets the sense that the fans believe this project is going in the right direction…
Absolutely, they have given me many reasons throughout the season - and they have shown with many factors - in the way they turn up. The atmosphere that they built, home and away for these players. I think they can see what we are doing, they see what the players want to do, how they represent the club, the values on and off the pitch, who we are as a group. Then we have the level that we have, and it has not been enough. We have to make a clear assessment on that, and how we are going to take the club now into the next level, and if we want to do that, we know what we have to do.

on Eddie Nketiah’s future…
When you see Eddie train in the way he trains, he doesn’t even need to play, you know that you have a player there that is going to help you and he’s done that. Look at his numbers with the amount of games that he’s played, it’s terrific. 

on the players out of contract…
I will speak to the three players now or tomorrow and after that, we need to start to move on but we have clear ideas of what we want to do.

on whether the future of the players out of contract has already been decided…
It’s been decided but it’s very difficult to communicate it, what they deserve is to have a little bit of what they had today. But to do it earlier, one way or the other with three situations like that is very, very awkward and it could affect the team. So as a club we have to do the right thing in the right moment and sometimes to combine those two issues is not easy at all, but we will try to do the right thing.

on the progress of the young players this season…
I’m extremely proud, I’m even surprised about how far they’ve come, and not only them we have many other examples of that as well and this is part of the decision that we made last summer, that if we are going to get to a certain level those players normally they get to that level when they get in the peak of their careers, obviously they are not there, but they are moving fast and they are giving us hope with them, we can reach the level that we want.

on raising the standards at the club… 
The standards of this club have to be to win, and the moment that we don’t look at that with a timeframe or when we are going to win, we are not going to get there. So my aim is to win the biggest trophies and my plan is to win here and what we have to do before that to be able to reach that level.

on if he will be ruthless with players this summer…
From my side, I will do and the club will do what we have to do and what we think is the best thing for the club to move forward and do it with the integrity and the honesty that we’ve always done it. Those players know individually their situation, when it’s going to be communicated, and then that situation happens face to face the way that they deserve.

on how he feels about finishing in the Europa League…
Today, I don’t get much [satisfaction] if I’m honest. I’m still in pain. That’s why I need the dust to settle, I need to go and get a few days on holiday, because I think today that I’m not going to reflect on the season the way that it is. But at the same time, I am very grateful for everybody that is supporting our club, the way they are giving us confidence and respect and motivation to drive, forward, because I think they believe in what we are doing, but when you have it there, I am a winner and I hate losing and we lost something that we could win and that’s why I’m in pain. I’m sorry.

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