Friday, April 12, 2024

Full transcript: Mikel Arteta’s pre-Fulham press conference

How is Jesus back on the training pitch?

He’s really happy. It was a big blow for him after the pre-season that he had to have another surgery but he’s looking really sharp. He trained the full week really good so he’s ready to go.

If he’s ready to go, he’s probably not ready to be involved this weekend or will he be?

He’s ready to go.

From the start?

Let’s see!

You did your buying early, didn’t you? Got it out of the way. I know you were working hard on clearing some of the players, maybe fringe players, away from the club. Any news of any progress on that score?

No, as you said there are some movements happening. Obviously the last week is going to be really busy, but nothing that we can announce at the moment.

The two that appear to be nearest are Flo Balogun …going to Sociedad?

We cannot say anything else.

Going to Monaco, I apologise. I’m sorry.

There are some movements, but we cannot get directly into individuals because there is nothing concrete yet.

And with Kieran seemingly going on loan to Sociedad, have you flown over there and shown him around when he goes?

Again, there are things that are not resolved yet and when that’s the matter we will tell you.

How important is it to get a settled squad when the window is closed?

Really important, especially for the players. Everybody needs to have clarity in the roles where they are playing, obviously their families as well and we need clarity in the number of numbers we are going to have and who can do what. But until the window is open, which is still a bit strange to be competing already in different competitions and still the window is open, we have to deal with that. It’s happened for a long time and we are used to it.

Gabriel is probably on that list of players you might listen to offers for. Going back almost a year he was the hero and villain in the game against Fulham wasn’t he? Made a bit of a mistake for their goal then got the late winner.

Yeah but Gabriel is a really important player for us and there is nothing going on with that at the moment.

About Fulham though, you got a win a year ago, different proposition this time, they started well, a bit better last season didn’t they?

Well I think what Marco and the coaching staff have done there is remarkable. The way they played last season and where they qualified in the Premier League and especially the way they did it, it was incredible. He’s a coach I always admire, he’s really well organised, they have really clear ideas of what they want to do, you can see his team exactly in the way that he wants to and tomorrow we’re going to have a tough match.

I know you’ve just come off the training pitch and you’ve got far more important issues much closer at hand in terms of looking forward to this game and the rest of the season. But while you have been out on the training pitch there’s been quite a lot of developments regarding Luis Rubiales following the World Cup final last weekend. He’s refused to resign, there’s a lot of criticism from Spanish football players and managers. I just wonder whether you thought all this was overshadowing what was a great success for Spain?

For sure and hopefully it doesn’t because I’m extremely proud of what they’ve done, I think the whole country is, but I don’t have the full details so sorry I cannot comment on what happened today. But it is sad is sad that this is happening while everybody should be celebrating and be extremely proud of what they’ve done.

I don’t believe Arsenal have ever lost to Fulham in the league. Did they set up their team in a certain way that brings out the best in your team? What have you noticed about them?

I didn’t know about that stat, so it’s something new. Hopefully we can continue tomorrow and win the game. But as I said, it’s a team that creates a lot of challenges and difficulties. It happened last year. When we played there and at home, we had tough moments. The way we won at home was in the last minute and away we were really good in the first half but not so good in the second half. So tomorrow I’m expecting something very similar.

Do you think that the start of their season, it seemed to be a bit of a smash at Everton and then obviously the defeat to Brentford, do you actually think that’s a true representation of where they’re at? Because obviously with Mitrovic gone, Tim Ream not there tomorrow, is it a bit sort of on paper a difficult spot but in reality they’ll still be the same Fulham that you…

I don’t know, the majority of the group has been there for a while you know they’ve been doing very well with that core group, it’s true that Mitrovic gives them a different dimension but Jimenez as well is a very proven goal-scoring this league that he did extremely well at Wolves and they have the resources, they have the capacity to help you and tomorrow again we will see that for sure.

And just finally, there’s no fresh injuries this week?

No, no news. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Mikel, hello. Just before I talk to you about Arsenal, have you seen Mike Dean’s comments about VAR and he didn’t send Anthony Taylor to the monitor?

I prefer not to comment too much on referees, stay away from it. I think it’s clear from the images what we gather, so I prefer not to comment on that.

I know it was two games into the season but winning away against Palace with 10 men, that’s a really good result isn’t it?

Especially when you have to play over 30 minutes in those conditions but we did it and the team showed incredible resilience and hunger to win and react against difficult moments and this is what we want. It was a really good game for us to learn something different.

Before your time, the Arsenal team had a reputation of being a bit weak. Looking on Monday, you’ve got so many six foot tall players, you can’t say this about this team. You look like a really strong team. Do you feel that as a manager, that these are a hard set of players?

That’s something you have to prove every single day. The moment you are not at it in this league you’re going to be exposed. That’s the adjective that a lot of people use to explain a defeat or to explain a draw. Sometimes it’s not that simplistic. I don’t like those words attached to our team, that’s for sure.

Did you identify that when you came in as something you needed to change and now you’ve reached that level?

More than that, it’s just the way that you feel the team has to conduct, the team has to transmit, the way the team has to feel every ball and the way that your team has to conduct, the team has to transmit, the way the team has to feel every ball and the way your team has to compete and it’s very far away from those words, that’s for sure.

The Arsenal fans enjoyed the win but they also want to see a midfield of Declan Rice, Thomas Partey and Odegaard, so can you promise them that this season you’ll see that in a midfield three because that in a midfield three?

I think we already ticked that box.

What, the way you’re playing?

Yeah, well we played like this against Manchester City.

In the league though?

In the league? OK. So not in the Champions League, Carabao, we have to play like this in the league. At home or away?

These are your options though, isn’t it?

For sure, I think it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.

Can I start by asking you about the new rules? How are you finding them as a manager? How are the team finding them?

I’m used to them already. One week, bang, done!

You have no complaints about that?

Yeah, I’m a new man. On the touchline you will see me so calm, I won’t move from the line, I’m ready to go.

I’m being serious because last season…

Yeah, yeah, me too. I’m trying my best to be there, you know. I have somebody in the stand the moment I move … bzzz!. I have a band there so I’m not going to move too much, you will see how good I behave.

Is that difficult for you? Because you’re a passionate man.

Yeah, very difficult. But I will try my best, that’s what I can promise.

Fulham tomorrow without Mitrovic, who’s gone to Saudi Arabia this week. Although not all players have been linked this summer, lots of big players have been, most recently in the last 24 hours. How big a threat to the Premier League do you think Saudi Arabia is becoming now and will become in maybe a year or two years?

It’s another competitor, you know, and it brings other opportunities for players, for managers, for people that work in the industry to decide. At the end, we are free to decide, you know, when clubs, players or whoever has to agree to something, you have to have the intention to go and you need to find agreements that’s why there are contracts so if people agrees to go means someone agrees to go there but the ones agrees to sell him so it goes two or three different ways.

But the money, you know, it’s a bottomless pit of money they could afford if they wanted to sign Declan Rice from you next summer they could afford to give you 200 million, 300 million, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

Well yeah because the player has to be willing to go and the club has to be willing to sell him, so we still have choices you know, and contractually, especially in this country when there is no redos clauses, you are very protected to do that. So at the end, I don’t think it’s all responsibilities for them. They have the resources, like we have to compare. In other countries they will look at the Premier League and say, yeah, if a Premier League club comes in, we are dead. But there’s still a lot of things that have to happen. So it’s another competitor, that’s for sure.

Just on the back of that one, the issue with Saudi I think partly is, well I know not your players have left but Fulham for example have lost their top goal scorer, their manager was linked, Willian’s been linked. The fact that they have a two week period at the end of our transfer window where theirs is still open, do you think that’s fair? Do you think that should be something that FIFA look at?

No, because that’s a competitor now, no. I think we have to change that. So it should be that they change that? That’s my opinion, yes.

Alexis McAllister had his red card rightly overturned from what happened last week when he was sent off. I know Tomi it was two yellow cards, but do you think there should be an appeal process because it is still a red card? Do you think that should be something that could be introduced?

Yeah, I would like to see a very proactive approach on that and do the same. But we know that that’s not going to happen.

The Saudis can still buy players until September 20th, but is it your view that if you get any offers for any of your players after September 1st, you won’t consider them because you can’t replace those players?

Well the principle would be that but I cannot make the decision for the club. There are a lot of people involved in that process and they would have for sure a say, ownership would do the same. It would be on the table like with any other offer and you would have to look at it. The only thing I’m saying is it’s not ideal because now it’s a competition.

Hi Mikel, I just want to ask a bit about defence. Last season, towards the end of the season, you were saying that maybe the reason the title race fell away was a lack of fit players and now obviously Jurien is going to be out for an extended period and potentially more defenders are going to leave between now and next Friday. Do you worry that that puts you back where you started despite the work you’ve done in the summer to bring people in?

Well, you have ideal numbers but there are obviously a lot of things that you cannot control like injuries. It’s true that we have a lot of things you cannot control like injuries. It’s true that we have a lot of versatility in the back line, something that in previous years we haven’t had. It’s true that we have used different players in the back line, that in previous years only at the end we used for certain moments.

And some other things that we cannot control, players decided to leave when there is another type of issue, so we have to adapt to that.

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BillyKrystal

Love the cheeky question if MA would show KT around San Sebastián. He was not in the mood for such pleasantries.

Gooner7190

Sarcastic Mikel is such a mood & Im here for it tbh

Jeremy

You can tell MA loves doing these press conferences haha (not). On a side note, there has been a lot of chat on how much money Arsenal has spent and how there is pressure on them yadi yada. Well, I did some digging and guess what? City are about to overtake us with their spending, Chelsea are approaching double our spend. United, Liverpool, Newcastle and the spuds are just behind us (and will probably make more signings/overtake our spending in the coming week). And yet somehow these clubs are all being geniuses in the market, and we’ve overspent. I hate… Read more »

A Different George

I don’t know what narrative you’ve been reading. No one thinks Chelsea have been a genius in the market. Liverpool commentators think they have two very good midfielders, one of them a bit of a surprise, but the departures and failures to get several targets mean the window has not been a success. People like Neville say Man United’s big purchase, Mount, is a mistake, and the window is close to a shambles. City have lost important players, bought a couple, and kept some important possible departures. So, they’ve done fine but that’s a given with their resources. Spurs, obviously,… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

You forget about Richarlison The Great

Jeremy

BBC narrative mostly. As you know they love utd and every article is about how player x is the missing piece. Spurs and Newcastle are positioned as plucky underdogs who can do no wrong. Chelsea get some flak, although rightly so. Regardless, my main point is that everyone else in the ‘big 6’ has pretty much spent what we have (or more). We’ve done what it takes to remain competitive.

Santi's Little Helper

I think you have to look at net spend. Take West Ham. Spending a good deal (or at least trying to) but they brought in close to 150M. They actually have a negative spend as of now. Arsenal have spent and we’re really the only team that hasn’t brought anything in of substance (yet).

Appelsenepere

I understand what Luis Rubiales did and why it’s wrong. What I dont understand, and it’s a genuine question, is what people would’ve wanted from Arteta? To me it comes across as he acknowledges whats happened is wrong and hopes it doesn’t overshadow the achievement?

Jeremy

They wanted him to call Rubiales a scumbag (which he is) so they could write some headlines presumably. Which MA was never going to do.

Arsene Wenger No.1

Yeah but Gabriel is a really important player for us and there is nothing going on with that at the moment.

tf for that! be careful ..you too edu….

Domi

“And with Kieran seemingly going on loan to Sociedad, have you flown over there and shown him around when he goes?”

Some journalists represent their profession really well.

Scott P

The Arsenal fans enjoyed the win but they also want to see a midfield of Declan Rice, Thomas Partey and Odegaard, so can you promise them that this season you’ll see that in a midfield three because that in a midfield three?

I think we already ticked that box.

What, the way you’re playing?

Yeah, well we played like this against Manchester City.

In the league though?

In the league? OK. So not in the Champions League, Carabao, we have to play like this in the league. At home or away?

This was pretty hilarious, Arteta at his spiky best haha.

Gooner7190

His definitely been taking notes from when Arsene use to do his Friday presser

Santa’s Thigh Grab

I want Arteta to start every response in Arsene fashion, “Well, of course…”

PGunner

Yeah, yeah, me too. I’m trying my best to be there, you know. I have somebody in the stand the moment I move … bzzz!. I have a band there so I’m not going to move too much, you will see how good I behave.

Hahaha Mikel was on fire today

Ebo

Yeah, I’m a new man. On the touchline you will see me so calm, I won’t move from the line, I’m ready to go.”

I laughed out loud. Our football hasn’t totally clicked yet but at least Mikel’s comedic talent is hitting another level

Johnny 4 Hats

This will be the first game we bang.

matty t.

That very last comment worried me re-Gabriel. “And some other things that we cannot control, players decide to leave”…

Heavenly Chapecoense

With all those FaceTime conversations he may be having with Neymar, we will never know until transfer deadline.

Runzac

I love how well prepared MA is before these pressers. He’s for sure not going to give them easy headlines to write or twist up. Professional performance

djourou's nutmeg

excellent article, very complete. thank you!

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