Arteta on Palace, injuries, transfers and more | Press conference | News


On the eve of the new season, Mikel Arteta faced the media to discuss a variety of topics.

The manager was asked about the excitement levels surrounding the new campaign, the latest team news, why he appointed Martin Odegaard as full-time captain and whether he will be making any more moves in the transfer market.

Here’s a full transcript from his press conference at London Colney…

On how different this game is to last season’s…
Well, it is different. Obviously, everything that happened before that game was pretty strange and unique. The preparation, the pre-season that we had, it was a different context. We are really excited, we are really looking forward to the new season, we will try to start it in the best possible way and this is how we have focussed our preparation.

On whether it feels like his team now…
It’s always been my team, because these are our players and always we have had the intention to get the best out of them. It’s true that obviously we have trimmed the squad and changed the squad massively in the last two windows especially and you feel that now the players we have are more specific and better for the way we want to play basically.

On the expectation on Jesus…
When you bring top players, they are coming from top clubs and they have been extremely successful over the years, they’re going to expect that. The role that Gabby has here is going to be very different to the role that Gabby had in his previous club. That needs some adaptation and some time. He’s done it fantastically well and we’re all surprised how quickly he’s done it, but we have to share that responsibility and he’s an enormous talent, a player with a mentality that is so contagious and he’s going to give us a lot, but it’s a team contribution at the end of the day.

On Crystal Palace’s prospects…
They showed last season how tough they are and how difficult they are to beat and how consistent they were at home as well, especially against the big teams they got some great results. They had that result against us and hopefully, we learnt a lot of lessons that day, especially the 30 minutes we had where we were nowhere near the standards that we needed and we paid the price for it.

On the excitement for the new season and new signings…
I think we are all enthusiastic. We had the pre-season that we wanted, it was well organised, we had good results, good performances, good preparation, but now the ball starts to roll to tomorrow evening in a completely different context against a Premier League team and we know what to expect there. But it’s true, we are with a level of energy and ambition to have a successful season and we have to show that on the pitch tomorrow night.

On whether there will be new players coming in…
We are really active as you can see with incomings and outgoings. Everything is still open, it’s a long window, a lot has happened, it’s incredible how much business the clubs have done across the Premier League and it shows how competitive it is and this season is not going to stop that. Players are going to have the need to leave, some others to move and everything is open still.

On whether the All or Nothing documentary release was a distraction…
No, well, the distraction or the attraction was last year having them here every single day. At the end we tried to work together, tried to make sure that whatever is produced is a reality of how this football club is run, the passion of its people, the aims and responsibilities that we all have to make it work, how much we care and love the club and how much enjoyment we’re going to bring to our people.

On the injured players…
Three out of four of those players [Tomiyasu, Smith Rowe, Tierney, Vieira] are going to be training this afternoon and if everything goes well, they will be available for selection and in the squad. Hopefully, we can start to recover because they’ve been missing a lot of minutes and time in pre-season and they are really important players for us.

On taking the knee…
Hopefully, it will be equally productive and we can still send a very important message that as a club we obviously want to express that equality is a massive thing for us. Everybody is welcome in our football club and in our industry hopefully, and we need to maintain being strong on that message.

On the expectation around the club…
It’s great that people are excited. But there is a big excitement across the Premier League because a lot of clubs have done a lot of business, getting stronger and stronger. The competition is really big, we focus on what we can do, what we want to do and we want to be at the top of the table.

On the increased pressure on him as a manager…
Watching the pressure that I had last year after one game I don’t think it’s going to be bigger than that! At the end of the day people don’t want to look at the context, they just look at the result and how we started. We are going to be judged on whether we win football matches or not, it’s as simple as that.

On Martin Odegaard as captain…
This season we had the opportunity to do it in the way that I believe could work. Martin has been with us for 18 months, and in my opinion is a player who represents the values of this football club in the perfect way. He’s well respected by everybody around the team, he’s admired by all the staff, he has the experience even though he’s 23, he has done it for the national team. He has a passion about the game that he promotes every single day around the club and the way he plays. So I’m really happy to have someone like him and he’s on board. He’ enjoying that responsibility and he will need support, but for sure it’s a huge thing for him as well.

On whether there is still a leadership group…
There is.

On whether the heart surgery he had as a kid puts everything into perspective…
Sometimes you forgot that the cameras were there! That’s what happened and you open up. In the end, what is pressure? Compared with what? People that have jobs where the pressure is much higher, because they make decisions that mean people can keep living their live or go to another place. What we do is try to win football matches, try to bring enjoyment and fun to our people, and play a game that is beautiful but at the same time is so unpredictable. Sometimes we need to do things with a bit of perspective as well.

On it’s the most excited he’s been since he’s been here…
You try every day to be more excited and love your players more and feel more privileged of where you are. The more things you do that are related to the way you feel, and you share that feeling with the club like we do, then it comes a common thing. At the end it’s not about me, it’s about how we all feel about what we are doing, we all feel an integral part of it, especially our supporters, when we do that, I always say it becomes very, very powerful.

On when he asked Guardiola to sign Jesus and Zinchenko…
I cannot say how it was but I can tell you that this works both ways and both parties have to be happy to do that. He was telling me that it was two phenomenal people that he was losing. I know them and I know how privileged we are to have them and I’m really happy.

On Bernd Leno and Hector Bellerin…
For Bernd at the end, it was just a professional relationship that he wanted to sustain because he’s a player that for the past 11 years has always started games and he’s so used to it. He’s an international player but then I spoke to him last night. It’s a man who will be remembered here and it’s been a privilege to work with him, but in football you have to make decisions and try to get the best out of your players to play the way you want to play, and Bernd has found a move that he and his family are really happy with, and we wish him all the best.

On setting a red card target…
I told you last time that it’s better not to talk about it and the less we talk about it, the better it comes so hopefully we can achieve that.

On Tierney and Tomiyasu’s injuries…
Hopefully not [long-term injuries], the reason they got those persistent injuries are for different reasons, probably because the squad didn’t enable them to recover, and [we] don’t play them when it was necessary and it was too tired when they weren’t fully recovered so sometimes we had to rush them. It was a combination of things with those two players, they’re so pushy and willing to contribute with the team. We know that with those two fit and performing at their best, we are much stronger as a team.

Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.



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