Thursday, December 7, 2023

White and Odegaard talk squad focus

After the 2-0 win at Sp*rs, Ben White and Martin Odegaard both took questions from Viaplay presenter Jan Age Fjortoft.

The Norwegian, who spent five years playing in the Premier League during the late nineties, quizzed the duo on dominating the game, maintaining squad focus and more.

Ben White

On the first half…

Yeah, it was good weren’t it? We’ve been working all week and it shows, today we had too much.

On Sp*rs being a team of two halves and them being better after the break…

I think that’s just the game. Obviously, they are a good team so in moments, we’re going to be under pressure. We dealt with that today.

On the challenge of keeping a game-to-game mentality when trophies are on the line…

To be fair, it’s my first time. For me, it’s just about learning as we go. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we know it’s a long season and at the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the moment.

On his definition of a “good dressing room”…

We’re really lucky with the boys that we have, the ones we’ve added this year have been superb and added so much to the team. We’re all mates, we come in every day and we’re enjoying it. That helps massively.

On demanding focus from each other…

Yeah, that comes from how we train. There are players on the bench who should be starting and that keeps everybody going. There’s a lot of pressure to perform and if you don’t you’re going to be replaced, someone will take your spot.

Martin Odegaard

On dominating the first half…

In the first half we are very good and they got no chance. We have players who know each other well, adn who know the system well. When we play like this, we are a difficult team to play against. The second half gets more “messy”. Anyway, we defend well and are solid.

On why the second half got “messy”…

It often happens after a dominant half, like we had. In the second half, they press harder and get some chances and set pieces. We weren’t good enough in the second half to keep our composure and keep the ball. We could have been better at that, but our defending is solid.

On what he made of his goal…

Nice goal, and I had a similar situation earlier in the game. I hit the ball well and it was nice to see it hit the net. It felt good.

On becoming more of a threat in the attacking third…

It’s about how we play and my role in the team and my focus, I’ve worked on it a lot. I’ve talked a lot with the coaches about getting into the right areas of the field. It’s a lot about the mindset, and a lot more. It’s nice that hard work pays off.

On what happened in the Manchester derby…

We had training so I just watched the first half. I don’t have any good analysis of the game, the match could have gone either way.

On two Norwegians challenging for the title…

It’s cool. It’s long been a desire to get established Norwegian players here. It’s nice to be able to please Norwegians who like English football.

On taking it one match at a time…

Everyone thinks alike and moves in the same direction. We agree to stay focused on the next game and win it. If someone loses focus, they will be notified. We are a good team that works well together.

On his relationship with Xhaka and Partey…

We work on it a lot and me, Partey and Xhaka complement each other. It’s a pleasure to play with them

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Ben White is such a classy guy…


Had to laugh at that one bit in the Odegaard interview:

“If someone loses focus, they will be notified.”


That was the bit that stood out to me too.
Obviously I’ll never know what the squad was like when we were really struggling, but I can say with some confidence that this sort of open criticism and holding each other to high standards was not taking place.
I wish they still did open training sessions- would love to see the guys in action?


Re: Squad

This is to officially notify you that your recent performances show a loss of focus.

M. Ødegaard


I hope there’s an option to block notifications. I know I lack focus I don’t need constant reminders!


The sign of any good team


very magnanimous of ben white to say that spurs are good in moments- they were absolutely abysmal yesterday (and long may it continue)


Are you sure about that? xG Tottenham 1.55-1.76 Arsenal. Give our boys some credit, it was a hard fought win.


I saw the team win by sheer bloody mindedness in ‘91
I saw them revolutionise the game in ‘98
I saw perfection in ‘04

This team has that, smell, that aura of champions that each of those teams possessed.

It’s a long, long way to go and City can never be underestimated. Whatever happens from here on in I absolutely love this team and I’m so proud of them.

Up the Arsenal, by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.


’23 vintage is smelling pretty good right now. We must have the highest point tally this year compared to all the previous great teams of Arsenal you mentioned. But there are no arrogant notes from this vintage at all. Let’s hope for a special year, and to whoever is lucky enough to support them in the stadium week in week out, please shout and support them out loud for all us Gooners around the world. This team absolutely deserves it.


Premier League put something out saying 47 points is the most we’ve ever had after 18 games in our Premier League history. I had a pretty shit 2022 for personal reasons so for the boys to win this title would make up for all of that. I was 14 the last time we won the title, I just turned 33 on 7th January so we do this & Im going on a week longer bender


This! Think the only game I’ve gone into this season where I wasn’t 100% that we’d get a positive result was Brighton & the boys proved me wrong massively. Sunday was the first time in many a year going into an away NLD where I thought “We ain’t losing this”, it just invoked memories of our 2000’s teams where we were just superior to them before we’d even stepped onto the pitch & you knew it was a guaranteed 3 points off that fact alone


Questions are different level tbs




“If someone loses focus, they will be notified” – sinister as f**k! Love it 😂

Ödegårds Magnifika Fot

I can’t help but think Zinny might have been notified 😅


Really enjoyed those interviews and the questions were interesting and not like the dumb rubbish the British guys ask, a regular spot on the blog would be nice…


Quite straight answers from White here. He could be an honorary Scandinavian with the way he talks! He speaks with a level of enthusiasm and dry humour that would almost rival Kimi Raikkonen!

Emi Rates

Kimi Raikkonen is not Scandinavian.


cause scandinavia is norway, sweden and denmark


Is Finland not Scandinavia?


It’s Nordic, but not part of Scandinavia


… So Wikipedia says mostly Finland isn’t Scandanavian, except sometimes when it is. Every day is a school day. I always considered Finland (and probably Iceland) as Scandinavian. Apparently this is acceptable as a broader definition only.
I’ll revise my earlier statement to: Ben White is a bit ‘Nordic’ in character.

A Different George

I knew a Finnish woman who complained pretty bitterly about having been forced to learn Swedish in school. (A requirement that, I’m told, has ended.) No love lost.

Emi Rates

Some Finns and their fucking moaning. They should take a leaf out of Norway’s book and get over themselves.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

“Mikel, if you were a milkshake, what flavour would you be?”


Read this in a cockney accent


MA: “There are many great flavours, it is not important which I am. So long as it brings all the boys to the yard. Credit to the boys really.”

Ray's ice cream Parlour

It’s scary for the rest of the football world to note that both Ode and Benjamin have another 4 to 5 years to hit their peak !!! In fact, other than Xhaka and Partey the rest of the team has another 4 to 5 years also. If this team keeps improving at the rate it is doing and our recruitment strategy is as successful as it has been so far, then us gooners are going to be happy for a few more years…..

Cranky Colin

Does anybody know if Ben is actually a human being?


There is such a togetherness at the club which is a driving force behind what we are doing.
That performance against the filth on Sunday made me forget about losing out on Mudryk.
It is one thing to have the talent and another to have the will but when you have both you win things…

Emi Rates

This is what Mudryk sacrificed for a bit more money. No way he’ll get anything like it at Chelski.


Oh I dunno.
There’s that fun dressing room game of “Who’s the Toddger going to replace with an overpriced signing next?”.
He can enjoy that, as it’s not likely to be him for a while.


I don’t think he did, the Skaktar CEO said they spent “eight to ten hours persuading him” to go to Chel$ea. He wanted Arsenal at half the salary and was bullied into Chel$sea. Not a word out of him since he went there and he looks gutted. I’m sorry for him, and Chel$ea are disgusting.

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