Press conference

Arteta on the defeat, injuries and Sunday’s game

Mikel Arteta said the team got what they deserved on Monday night away to Newcastle.

Afterwards, the manager faced the media and fielded questions on the defeat, the performance and our chances of still finishing in the top four.

Here’s what he said…

on the defeat… 
It’s a really tough night. Normally, I can sit here and I can defend, but what we’ve done today, it’s not easy. Newcastle were one hundred times better than us in every department from the beginning to the end and it’s hard to accept to accept, but you have to accept it and that’s the reality of what happened today on that pitch.

on what he puts the performance down to...
We knew [what was at stake], but we didn’t cope with it. We didn’t compete, we never got into the game, we put ourselves in trouble time after time, we lost every duel. Every aspect of the game we were second best and Newcastle totally deserved to win the match, probably by a bigger margin as well.

on if we need a miracle to reach the Champions League…
We need to win and we need a defeat from them, and we know that in football, that’s always possible, and if anything happens, you have to be there in order to do that. Today, you have to put your head down, swallow all the disappointment that we all feel, hopefully, and tomorrow start again.

on how the players are feeling in the dressing room…
Now it’s too late.

on conceding the first goal again…
We need to find other ways to do it and especially when we find ourselves in this kind of situation, with the amount of changes that we have made through the game because of injuries to Gabi, Emile was feeling something, with Tomiyasu, we tried to change it. But again, we were extremely poor in every department that can give you a chance to at least compete in the match and tonight we were nowhere near that.

on comparisons with Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final last year...
There are a lot of similarities, we had six or seven players out. At the time (of the Villarreal game) Aubameyang hits a header, the ball goes on the post and it goes out. Then it’s personality, or no personality. The situation is, it was a very different game against Spurs. What happened today, it was about the performance and about how we competed, and we were nowhere near the level we have to be at, to have a chance to play in the Champions League. 

on whether he feels let down by the players tonight…
No, I am the maximum responsible (person) all the time. If somebody has created an expectation this year that no one in this room probably would talk about at the start of this season, it’s those players that are there. I will always defend them. But tonight that’s a really, really difficult thing to do. 

on how serious Tomiyasu’s injury is…
We don’t know, we will have to assess him, but he felt a muscular issue, and we had to replace him unfortunately. 

on how he will pick the players up for the game on Sunday…
Well now we have to swallow everything, digest it and tomorrow is another day. We will still have five days to prepare that match. We know what we have to do. There’s not a lot of words I think that are needed after the performance tonight. 

on whether he has regrets on not buying players in January…
We have done what we can, and with what we were allowed to do, what we could do and the resources we had from the start of the season. The team that we were able to build is what we were able to build and it’s the team that has taken us all the way here. 

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