Mikel Arteta talks to the BBC & BT Sport – transcripts

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In the absence of any actual football, Premier League clubs have been doing their best to placate broadcast partners by offering up high profile players and coaches for interview.

For Mikel Arteta this has meant a fair few Skype sessions with random reporters looking to get an insight into his recovery from Covid-19 and how he and the squad are coping with life under lockdown.

The boss has spoken very well so far, showing obvious concern for the physical and mental wellbeing of his players and stressing an eagerness to make the best of a bad situation by deepening his relationship with the coaching team he’s been building.

Following an interview with Sky Sports, broadcast last week, he’s repeated himself a bit in chats with the BBC’s Dan Thingy and BT Sport’s Jake Whatshisface. It’s still interesting hearing Mikel talk and in the absence of anything else, we thought you might like a round-up.


BBC Football Focus Interview

On his recovery…

I feel really good, I’ve completely recovered. It took me five to seven days to get through the virus. Then I passed it on to my missus and another person who lived with us. We’re all fine, we’ve all come through it and we are absolutely fine.

On it being a difficult time for everyone…

I have a lot of people, relatives and families who are dealing with complicated situations. This is something we are all living together, it’s a massive challenge. We have to protect each other as much as we can.

On the situation in his home country…

I’m following the news all the time, I’m in contact with my family and friends. I have a lot of people who are involved in very difficult situations. The measures they have taken there are even more strict than the ones in the UK. They needed to. Hopefully the situation can be brought a bit more under control in the next week or so and hopefully we can see a drop in the cases.

On Pep Guardiola’s mother passing away…

It’s impossible [to come up with the words]. I spoke with him and the whole family was gutted. They were a very united family and anyone who had met them can see what beautiful and lovely people they are. We are suffering with them. We can only do our best to try to support them.

On being on a call with 500 Arsenal staff this week…

My biggest worry has been communication, how we can ensure everyone understands the steps that we are taking and why and that everyone can have a say about what we are doing. At the end of the day, I’ve very keen to see the outcome of this situation after the coronavirus and what type of club we are, what type of staff we are and the message we send to the world of who we are as a club.

On the players setting up a charity to help the NHS…

It was really important. Rivalry doesn’t matter. Yes, it is sport but here we’re talking about our society and our future. Everybody has to contribute, we have a huge responsibility and it is good to have organisations and teams with different cultures and mindsets getting together to help the situation.

On talking to his players…

At the moment, I’ve been talking a lot with them individually, sometimes in units and some times to the whole squad. It’s been really helpful, I’ve been here only three months so it’s a good opportunity for me to get to know each other and to get a lot of things moving forward.

On football returning…

I think the bodies will decide on the measurements, our responsibilities and how we act with this and when, it can be in six weeks or six months. The absolute priority is to get the world back to where it was but hopefully in a better place and with a few lessons learned.

On players exercising together, albeit in isolation…

Yes [it’s happening], we have a group with the fitness coach where they do some work together. It’s a bit more motivating for them, they get some banter with each other. It’s not easy to train on your own in a flat.

On what else he’s doing…

I’m using this time now to connect better with the club, to improve our relationships, to get to know each other and to make sure we’re on the right path and that everybody understands what I’m trying to do since I joined the club. Hopefully, when we get back to playing we’ll be in a better position.


BT Sport #EarlyKickOff Interview

On his diagnosis…

The same afternoon that I started to have symptoms, I went to see the doctor and I couldn’t find him. Then I got a call from the CEO of the club about the situation we had because we’d been in contact with the owner of Olympiakos. I said, we have a big decision to make here.

On it being hard for him being away from Spain…

It’s been hard because the situation in Spain has been really difficult. I have a lot of friends and relatives who’ve been through this, it’s been a very difficult moment, not just healthwise but as well, financially they are in a really difficult position. They are a little bit ahead of us but I’ve been looking because it’s a good mirror of what could happen here in England. Thankfully, the government has made some strong decisions and with the lockdown we can hopefully try to control the situation better now.

On the training the players are doing…

They have the equipment, they have all the necessary tools and guidance to try and keep themselves in the best possible shape. I was worried about the mental side, that disconnection with football. I’ve been trying to give them work and get to know them better as well. I think this is a good possibility, when everybody is a bit hurt and more open about what’s going on, to get into them a little bit. To understand how their families are, what they’re doing to take care of them, their relatives. How they feel at the club, how they feel with their teammates. I want them to feel close with me. I want them to feel close to me, that they can trust me, that they can tell me their feelings. We have a lot of people that live on their own, people that have family away. They need to feel protected a little bit, they’re in a different country, and we’ve been trying to do that, not just me but the staff and the senior people at the club.

On what he’s missing…

For me, that feeling that connects people to football or people to people, it’s emotions. People go to the stadium because they want to feel emotions. If they don’t feel emotions, they have nothing. The way we interact these days, everything is *hand gestures texting on a phone*. You and me, we can talk like this but it’s not the same, we can’t touch each other, we don’t look [each other in the eye], you know, there’s no hugging. Someone crying or smiling close to you, that energy you have to feel it. It’s very difficult. It’s another lesson for us, to stop this *gestures texting again* and spend time with people and talk to them and make them know how you feel about them.

On sending condolences to Pep Guardiola…

I spoke with him and they were really affected. They were very close and obviously the consequences of losing one of the parents is you worry about the other one. All the family, they are really united, they are a lovely family.

On the player that made him fall in love with football…

For me, it wasn’t a player it was a manager. It was Johan Cruyff and the way he set-up the dream team at that time. Michael Laudrup was the player that I always had a strong opinion of.

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Futsboller
Futsboller
1 month ago

I’m so glad we finally brought in the right man to succeed Wenger. When football returns, and hopefully normal life with it, we’ve got a lot to be excited about with Arteta at the helm.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
1 month ago
Reply to  Futsboller

We will be all be excited for sure when life returns to normal, and we get football back. That is one thing we can all agree on. What I don’t get is on what evidence or facts do we think Arteta is the right guy? He is a great guy, is a good manager on what I have seen so far, and says the right things, and I wish him all the best. But is he the right man for Arsenal? The first question is can anyone be the right man if they are not backed by the money men… Read more »

Michael Bolton Wanderers
Michael Bolton Wanderers
1 month ago
Reply to  Naked Cygan

I think sometimes certain people just seem like the right match for certain clubs. Like Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, like hodgson and palace, like klopp and Liverpool.
And I agree that it’s not enough to guarantee success, but it just feels like he’s the right guy for us.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
1 month ago

I hope you are right. I really wish him all the best, and hope he can bring back the good days. I also don’t think anyone can replace Wenger, he is one of a kind, a legend, we will miss him more and more.

StockholmGooner
StockholmGooner
1 month ago

I was always positive towards Arteta taking over. Now I am over the moon. I can’t imagine Mourinho Skype calling Ndombele to see how he’s doing with his feelings, fitness and getting to know him better as a person. I know a lot of the toxic fanbase wanted Mourinho out. Instead we got Pep V.2.0 knock on wood.

StockholmGooner
StockholmGooner
1 month ago

In!! As soon as they would have wanted him out.

Charles
Charles
1 month ago

Thank God he’s fully recovered and rearling to go.. Best wishes to him.

yen
yen
1 month ago

We are really lucky to have such a great communicator as our manager at these strange times.

Tasmanian Jesus
Tasmanian Jesus
1 month ago

Wonder who’s this other person they were living with. Shame on the reporters!

Vonnie
Vonnie
1 month ago

The nanny, he said in a previous interview.

AMOS ARMSTRONG
1 month ago

I am really excited about the appointment of Arteta as our manager, first because he knows the culture of the club and what it represents. I more like the challenges he puts to the players. and I also like the fact that he was able to recognize early who made him fall in love with the game. And I am sure like Johan Cruyff, he values youngsters from the academy more. And he must have taken lessons from all the people and managers he has worked with. welcome to arsenal.