Every word of Mikel's pre-Man City presser

Every word of Mikel’s pre-Man City presser

Ahead of our FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester City on Friday, Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference and answered questions from the assembled journalists.

He spoke on many topics including the recent arrivals of Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior, Eddie Nketiah’s form and his thoughts on his friend and former boss Pep Guardiola.

Here is all he had to say:

on the strength of a team he seeks to field:
There is no more news from the team, especially no more injuries. Obviously, we have the other two recruits we made in this window. It’s a big game, and a big test for us against in my opinion the best football team in the world. I can’t wait to be there because it will tell us a lot about where we are.

on how quickly Leandro Trossard made an impact in the Man Utd game:
That’s what I like. I see a player who is ready to shake things up and is particularly composed in the final third and that is something we needed to add to the team. He immediately had a great impact on the team to help us win.

if Jakub Kiwior’s versatility means we no longer need signings this window:
It gives us more coverage. We were with three central defenders in a very short first part of the season, and we were lucky with the injuries. We needed to recruit for this position and we did – Jakub plays different roles and is a versatile player, and he will strengthen the team. If something else is available that can make us better, we’ll consider it.

on whether his relationship with Pep Guardiola has changed now that they are vying for the title:
I always hoped that [a title challenge] was going to be the case one day, and it’s happening this season but it won’t change the friendship or the times we have, how important he is in my life or how important he is in my profession. We are both ready to win and defend our clubs in the best possible way, and that has always been the case since day one.

on whether Martin Odegaard gave advice on how to handle Erling Haaland:
No, I think they are two players in great shape at the moment. I think [City] we have, and we also have, a lot of players who are very well placed and who are very important in their teams.

if Eddie Nketiah can maintain his current form:
It’s the challenge that we all have, not just Eddie, to not be at this level but at a better level every day. Eddie was very consistent and I think he surprised a few people with how he responded to the huge challenge and demands he had after Gabriel. [Jesus] hurt himself. We are convinced that it can get much better, evolve and continue to develop.

on whether there’s been too much focus on his touch passion:
I do not know. I focus on the things I can do better. Of course, there are things I can do better and let the referees take charge of the game. Sometimes I need to look in the mirror and try to find the right balance. I love the game, I’m very passionate about it and I love winning more than anything and that’s how I live the game. But again, if there’s something you can do better, you can at least try that.

on whether there will be a psychological advantage for the winner ahead of the rest of the season:
I think there are going to be two very, very different games, and to put similarities there is really unreal. Perhaps because of the players on the pitch, but also the context is extremely different. Let’s see – obviously it’s important to win and play well. It gives you more momentum, more confidence and better prepares you for the next game, and it’s our goal to do that on Friday.

on what has been done to develop a winning mentality:
I think the key word would be belief – not just our belief, but the staff believe, the players believe and the atmosphere we have created with our people in the stadium. You could feel that even when we were down 1-0 [against Man Utd] that we could still go on and win. We are handling emotion in the game in a much better way than before. We are playing better than before and earning the right to win games, and then football, as we all know, is very unpredictable.

on whether the club is more united now than at any time since he’s been here:
I wouldn’t like to compare how it was in the past but I would say I’m extremely proud and privileged to be at the football club right now. I think we all feel the energy and empowerment of everyone involved in bringing the club where it belongs.

on the impact of Oleksandr Zinchenko:
He is a player who gives us everything we want in this position and who gives us versatility. He also gets a lot of attention and fills a lot of space, and that’s really important to us. I would especially highlight his mentality; what he brought was a real desire to win and do something special with this team, and the experiences he’s had in the past are very helpful for us to achieve that.

on whether the three games against City will define our season:
It would be because on Friday, if we are able to win, we will advance to the next round and they will not, and if they beat us, it will be the opposite. Obviously it’s a competition that’s really important to us and tied to our club and our history, and I would define that as a moment for sure.

if he competes with City earlier than expected:
I don’t know but this league brings you incredible challenges. You have the best coaches in the world, and the best coach in the world, and to be at that level you have to find other things to try to compete with them and that’s where the opportunities come as well. We are on this path but understand that we haven’t done anything yet and that there are still many things to improve.

on whether Mohamed Elneny will be fit:
I don’t think he will. He had issues with his knee which we are evaluating at the moment and I will have to see how he develops in the next few days.

if it could be a long-term injury:
There are some concerns, especially since Mo never complains about anything but let’s see.

if we have enough in midfield after Kiwior’s arrival:
We need more cover in midfield ideally if we can, but in this market it’s quite complicated to do that. As I always say, the most important thing is that we get the performance and the time on the pitch that we need with the players we have today who are already very good.

on whether it feels more special to confront a close friend:
I would rather do it against someone else to be fair, because I want the best for him. When you challenge someone like that, something gets in the way, so it’s a weird feeling. It is what it is, and it is our challenge.

on Guardiola’s reaction when we signed Jesus and Zinchenko:
It was done in a very good way between the clubs, and especially between us [him and Guardiola] because you have to do it with respect. Everyone agreed, as you have read and heard many times, so it was a decision between three parties, otherwise they would not be here.

if the situation at his former club Everton makes him sad:
It’s because it’s a club that I love so much and to which I am very grateful and attached. I just hope they can get to where they deserve to be, and that they can get things done quickly and get everyone back on board and out of this situation.

on Gabriel Jesus suggesting he could be back in four or five weeks:
With him I don’t know, he wants to be next week! It’s obviously totally unrealistic but he pushes and pushes everyone [in the medical team] To the limit. I cannot answer you; I hope it will be weeks and not months, but it was a serious injury and we have to respect that process as well.

on the impact of Jesus behind the scenes:
He was amazing with the boys, the staff and everyone around the club. His energy and how positive he is towards the boys – he always gives them advice and is always by their side. He was great.

have 50 points in 19 games:
What we’re doing gives us excitement and hope to dream, but we know the reality is that there’s half the season left to play, and in the Premier League that’s a hell of a story and it there are still many chapters to complete. writing. We must continue to watch what we are doing day after day.

to be the favorite to win the title:
We can’t control that, but what I would say is when you look at what’s happened over the past few seasons, it wouldn’t make much sense, but OK, we accept that.

Copyright 2023 Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to proper credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.

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