Mikel Arteta spoke to Sky Sports after the 3-3 draw with Southampton this evening.
Here’s what he had to say.
Happy with the comeback?
Obviously unhappy with the result. We made it difficult again for ourselves, but mistakes are a part of football and I must say the way we reacted, the way our team reacted, I love our players more than ever.
Because you make a mistake, then you make another mistake, and it’s complicated when you are fighting for what we’re fighting for. To turn that around and play with the courage we played is incredible. We were on the way back and we conceded again with a sloppy goal from a set-play and the whole sequence previously is not good enough.
But at the end we should have won the game. We created enough chances and it didn’t happen so at the end we are disappointed for sure.
What was the problem?
Well, starting the game the way we did, giving a goal away, straight away it makes it really difficult. Giving the ball away and conceding another goal from one pass, but you can’t concede three goals in this league. When you concede three goals in the way we did, a really sloppy way, it’s extremely difficult to win matches. Even if we scored three and we probably should have scored five or six, but it wasn’t enough to win.
Is that when it shows what’s at stake, with such a young team?
Yeah, but this young team reacts in a way which is incredible. Against the odds and when you are under pressure, the way they continued to play, the chances they had, the spirit, the way they tried, it’s just a joy to watch. But I feel a lot for them today, some individuals are really hurt, but the message has been clear: that I love them.
What else did you say? It must have been difficult.
*exasperated sigh* Well of course it’s difficult, they are down and more willing than anybody can imagine to win it. You can see that, and they are really disappointed in the dressing room, but it’s clear that defensively we have to do things better, and not to concede three goals the way we have.
Your message about the title – it’s still in your hands.
For sure it is, that hasn’t changed. Obviously the task now is even bigger, but the first thing we have to do is click and cut out the mistakes and do all the simple things and basic things much better. After that we will win games again because we deserve to win, expect for those moments.
Concerned about form ahead of City – is it like a final.
It’s not a final, there are still six games to go and obviously the concern is just turning around this moment. Especially if there are some players who are in doubt. Get those doubts away, and go to Manchester to try and win the game.
In football you go through times when you make errors and you have to come away from that. They reacted throughout the game. It’s not like they bottled it and said ‘It’s nothing to do with me’. I haven’t seen anybody hiding.
It’s been a good season, for this to be an amazing season, do you have to win on Wednesday?
Yes, I agree. I am confident, because they showed their level in a difficult context. Chance after chance, we have to try and do that again.