Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arteta on “incredible” City and why Arsenal can win at the Etihad

In the second half of his pre-Manchester City press conference, Mikel Arteta praised his players for going toe-to-toe with his former club, who he views as the best of the Premier League era.

He also reflected on his relationship with Pep Guardiola and revealed how he prepares himself and his players for such a high-pressure situation…

On whether Manchester City are the best team of the Premier League era…

Probably, yes. They’re an incredible team, incredibly well coached, the culture they set. You need hunger, you know, to do one season, two, three, four, you need a lot of good people around that have the capacity to set that belief, those demands. They have incredible players, that’s for sure, but that’s not enough. There is something else there. And big credit to them for the way they’ve done it and the consistency that they’ve shown. And then it’s the style. I think they’ve brought to this league something very different that probably hasn’t been seen before. 

On his players deserving a lot of credit for going head-to-head with City this season…

For sure, because if you look across Europe in the last six years, a team that has been able to consistently get the amount of points in six seasons like they did, then the next one is very, very far apart. So for us to be able to be toe-to-toe with them is great, but it’s not enough because we want to win it. So we need to find a different edge and now that we are here, we’re going to go and win it. To do that, excellence is the only thing that is going to take you where we want. 

On whether his players are scared of the challenge lying in wait…

No. If they do, just say kill them. I don’t want that at all. 

On what tangibles his players can take in the long-term from such a big pressure match regardless of the result…

Sorry, I cannot answer that question regardless of the result. Because we want the result. I understand. A beautiful experience tomorrow night. This is what they want to take. A beautiful experience where we do what we have to do to win the game. 

On whether his players can learn anything from last season’s match at Newcastle… 

I don’t think so because you know we’d have to go back to the previous game that we played at Anfield or the previous one that we played at Spurs when we played the season before. No, the judgment will depend on the result that’s for sure but I think it’s a very different scenario with very different players as well. 

On whether his preparation for this match is affected by his relationship with Pep and knowing how he thinks…

I don’t know, we’ve known each other very well and played each other now a few times. Very difficult to predict, but we know what we are trying to do and what we want to take the game, that’s for sure. But after that, fortunately, it’s down to the players. We want to help them as much as possible. This is the beauty of football. Five years ago, somebody would tell me that we’d be in this position, him and City, me at Arsenal, and going toe-to-toe with them – a beautiful experience. 

On whether he can impact the game more because he knows the strengths and weaknesses of players he coached…

If it’s an impact that is positive for us, then it’s a good thing and we will try to take the game there, but I think they will try to do the same. 

On what it takes to stay at the top for so long like City…

First of all, a club that is extremely ambitious and always wants to get better. And when you have won, they want to win again and win again and win again and win again. A coaching staff, a staff that is constantly pushing in the same direction and they are very consistent with the messages and with the demands that they put on them. And after, get the team evolving. You know, having good players to excellent players to even better players, we’re better with experience of winning, we’re bringing even better players. Constantly making the right decisions at the right time which is very necessary. And in the key moments deliver to win, because you can do a lot of things in the key moments, you have to have that extra thing to win it, but the consistency that they had is incredible. 

On what makes him confident that Arsenal can win at City…

What I’ve seen. What I’ve seen when we played against them, what I’ve seen all season, and what I’ve seen the way we have prepared, and we are still preparing the game for tomorrow. 

On how you compete with the team who have Foden on the bench and Bernardo Silva and Mahrez…

In a different way, trying to get the best and squeezing every single drop with the resources that we have and with our history as well, you know, our people and how we have turned things around. The end is that we created the staff that we have and then getting the best out of the players every single day. And having someone that you looked at and said, this is the level, pushes everybody. Because if not, you say, maybe this level is enough. Here, the level is there. And you have to seek for that. You have to do it every single day. And that’s an inspiration as well. You have to use it that way. It took everybody to those demands. And then you can excel because you don’t know your limits. And we have seen it with many players, especially this season, where at their age they’ve never done it. You’ve never seen a team with that age do what they’ve done. What they’ve done is because they’ve seen this is the level and I really want to be there. That’s been an inspiration. 

On whether he’s jealous of City’s resources and strength in depth…

This is what we have and I cannot be happier with the players that we have and how they try to do things. Injuries in the right moment for us, we’re losing three players or we lost four players. It’s not great but we have to adapt. If you want to win a championship, you’re going to have to go through those moments. You’re going to have to somehow overcome that situation and we have to show that now. 

On how he prepares himself for a game like this…

No. First of all, prepare something that I really believe in, that I can transmit it in the right way and if anything, this game, simplify it. Instead of complicating it, just simplify as much as possible and visualise how we’re going to do it, that has to work. 

On how coaching courses help for games like this…

I think the coaching courses are really, really important because they give you the foundation and as well they guide you, who you want to be as a coach, not only the tactical but how you’re going to manage the team or the board or your supporters, the people around you, they are really necessary. But now it comes down to one moment, and that moment is as well who you are and being authentic to yourself and doing what you believe is the best way to win the game.

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BillyKrystal

I’m working from home during the game. I only hope my clients can understand my slurred speech and heavy breathing.let’s fucking go!!!

Magneto

Arteta did very well to not mention financial doping several times in answering these questions.

Bill Hall

Hopefully the fact we have the best away form in the league will count in our favour tonight. I don’t even care if we win by a dubious 90th minute penalty. Not after the Brentford and Man United fiascos!

Johnny 4 Hats

Everyone I know thinks we are going to get smashed.

Some bookies have us at 5 to 1 to win.

The footballing world is gearing up for Arsenal to hand over the league to City tonight.

There are no better circumstances to be in.

The pressure comes off us and mounts on City.

Just enjoy it lads. You’ve got nothing to prove. Everyone thinks we’ll lose.

Let’s go! Have fun and show the world who we are!

COYG!

Hopeful Gooner

It’s really great to have a clearly very intelligent (both IQ and EQ) manager as our Mik! A bona fide heir to Arsene’s throne. For all he and the team have done thus far (massive over-delivering both in terms of results and quality of performances), this Gooner says “Muchas Gracias!”🙏🙏

IAmGooner

I’m torn! My optimistic side says our hunger and desire will persevere and we’ll get the result. My pessimistic (realistic?) side can’t see past a loss. I’m going optimistic!! GOONERS!!!!!

GraeB

Were these questions all from Citeh fan club? Very one-sided in the way they set us facing the impossible.
Need an ’89 mentality.

Jeremy

My heart says an arsenal win and we surprise everyone. My head says we’ll create lots of early chances, miss them, the ffp cheats will win by 3/4 goals with Haaland scoring most/all of them and 50% of all comments on all articles will contain the word ‘bottle’. Although it rarely does, I really want the heart to record a win on this one.

Naked Cygan

There is higher chance that Richarlison will score 5 more offside goals this season than Arsenal getting anything at City.

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