Monday, June 17, 2024

Every word from Mikel Arteta’s pre-PSV Eindhoven press conference

Mikel Arteta sat down with the press for his first Champions League press conference as a manager.

As expected, the Spaniard was probed on the goalkeeper situation at Arsenal – spoiler alert, he wasn’t very forthcoming – and also the general excitement around the club ahead of a return to Europe’s top competition.

There were also updates on injured players and some warm words for midfielders Martin Odegaard and Fabio Vieira.


On making his debut as a manager in the Champions League…

Proud and excited, I would say. It’s been a long time for the club since we have been in the competition, and obviously, it’s the first time for me as a manager as well, so really looking forward to it.

On whether he senses excitement around the training ground…

Yes, and we’ve been chasing it and fighting for it and now we’ve got it and now we have to make the most out of it and it starts at home. I’m sure all our supporters are going to be really excited about it and we need to manage that and as well, enjoy the challenge.

On Martinelli’s fitness…

He felt something in his hamstring and we need to do some further tests to assess if there is any big damage or not. But he will be out for tomorrow’s game that’s for sure.

On whether Martinelli will be available for the weekend…

It’s a possibility, we don’t know yet. As I said, we need some more tests and then see what happens.

On whether he’s confident Arsenal can progress…

That’s what we want to do but this is football and tomorrow we’re going to play against a really good team. They haven’t lost a game and they have won the majority of their games. They are used to winning like every other team that is in the Champions League and it will be a really tough test I’m sure about that.

On Arsenal having Champions League experience in the group…

It’s great to have that mixture and the excitement that creates to play for the first time. I sense it. There are players that have played for many years, some of them have won it, and it’s just mixing that experience and, as well, the desire to make your debut in the right way to perform at the highest level

On whether he’s surprised by the furore over his goalkeeper comments…

No, because I respect opinions and I understand the questions and I understand historically what happened. For me there is nothing different. We’ve been doing it for many years. When Benrnd [Leno] was here we brought Aaron [Ramsdale] and I don’t see any differences. It’s my job. I have to answer the questions in the best possible way, in the most honest way. As a manager my job is to do what I feel. What I feel that always is the best for the team and for the club, not for Mikel, that’s for sure.

On the importance of the fans during the group stages…

We will see tomorrow night, but I’m sure it will be an incredible atmosphere. It will create a special night. I played a few of them with the club and I have beautiful memories of them, so I’m waiting for it.

On Odegaard’s role in Arteta’s rebuild of Arsenal…

He’s our captain, a really important player for us and a player that has developed, evolved and been on this journey with us together now for a few years. He’s been instrumental in everything that we’ve done, starting by building the culture that we wanted, recruiting the profile and the players with the right specificity to play the way we want to play and obviously, the level that he has performed in a really consistent way I think.

On Elneny being back in training…

He’s in a good place. Obviously, it’s been a while and it’s been a very significant injury but I think he’s in the last stages of that rehab process. He’s been training now for almost two weeks with the team and he’s in a good place and it’s always great to have him around.

On Arsenal having many inexperienced players…

I hope not. We have to treat it like any other game. We are used to playing top opposition every week in the Premier League and tomorrow, again, we are going to have a top side fighting against us. The good thing is that we experience that every three or four days in the Premier League so it couldn’t be any different tomorrow.

On what response he’s seen from Ramsdale since Sunday…

Honestly, I don’t want to talk about the response of every single player in the squad, whether they play or not. Sorry. Thank you.

On Fabio Vieira looking more confident…

That was my fault. I said many times that I haven’t played him enough and he hasn’t had enough room in the team maybe with the competition that we play to participate more. But we see every day the talent that he’s got and what he can bring to the team and I was really happy with the performance on the weekend.

On how he keeps players happy and also performing consistently…

Players, to be happy they have to play and they have to feel important, they have to feel valued and they have to feel that we trust them. It’s the only way to do it. I will try to do that in the best possible way, maximising them to get the best possible performance. That’s it.

On whether there were particular moments in the recent past when he felt jealous Arsenal weren’t in the Champions League…

Every time that I watched it and we weren’t there, I felt it. I think you put pressure on yourself. This club has to win Champions League. When I had the job that I had, I feel extremely responsible to try to bring the club to the biggest stages, the biggest tournament, and then be fighting for them. It was a process but we are here and now we have to make the most out of it.

On whether missing out on the Champions League two years ago has driven his side onwards…

I think it’s a learning process always, when you don’t achieve what you always have in your hands, you have to take some learnings and some lessons from it. I think we did and we got better as a team and we did the right things as well to improve the squad and now we are here and I think we fully deserve to be here.

On if Arsenal have something to prove in Europe after disappointments in the Europa League…

Every day you have something to prove. In elite sport that’s the thing. Tomorrow you have to prove, I have to prove, that we have prepared in the best possible way and we are giving the players the best possible chance to play as good as we possibly can to win the game. That’s the reality in the sport.

On what stylistic differences he sees between his goalkeepers…

It’s something that I’m not going to get into. I don’t speak about how different Eddie is to Martinelli or Reiss Nelson or to whoever. Every player has a different personality, different characteristics.

On PSV’s Mexican player Hirving Lozano…

Every player is dangerous at this level and tomorrow we’ll have a lot of things that we have to control but I think the main thing is that we focus on ourselves and we play at the level that we have to play to win the game. and we play at the level that we have to play to win the game.

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The Mighty Mo has returned. Assuming this is his last season I really hope he gets on or two cool moments. 30 yd belter agains spuds would be nice!

Santi’s Phonebox

It would be nice if he could get on the pitch for one of these group games. The only current squad player who has played for the Arsenal in the CL.


Given our strength in central midfield, where he has Partey, Rice, and Jorginho ahead of him, I wonder if we’ll be seeing him fill in at right back at times? Our numbers are limited in defense and Mo’s skill set might fit with what Arteta wants from his fullbacks.


Inverted Mo! Yes please🙏


Om ॐ


Whilst a lot is being said about the challenge in the Champions League, it is interesting that out of over 13,000 teams ranked by Opta, our League Cup opposition next week, Brentford, is actually ranked one place higher than PSV. 23 vs 24. Just shows the challenge in the Premier League. Obviously, the prestige of the CL and the teams that will probably be selected, means you can’t take too much notice of the rankings.


Didn’t you kind of cancel your own point there at the end?


I mean yes, the PL is very good and I don’t know that PSV would necessarily be favourites vs. Brentford in a neutral setting. But those Opta rankings, how the hell can they rank teams when most of them have never played each other, and most of them have barely even played any team in another league? Seems like 50% science at best combined with 40% speculation and 10% “Gary Neville” aka a bunch of random stuff.


PSV are an excellent team. Bakayoko on the wing is going to be an unbelievable player, and Veerman in midfield as well as Pepi up front already are. Then you have De Jong and Lang. Not to be underestimated. Three points will be hard got.

Teryima Adi

Tomorrow is pregnant with expectations and we are going to deliver great things. Champions League, here we come.


If Lozano were incredibly dangerous he’d be playing at a better team than psv during his peak years. He’s also an underperformer for Mexico. A quick player, but if we’re able to corral rashford for 70 minutes, Lozano shouldn’t be a problem.


I think we’re not favourites tomorrow and there’s isn’t a favourite team. It is going to be a hard fight home and away too.


Little concerned he is comparing Raya coming into the squad to Aaron coming into the squad when Leno was here because Aaron replaced him and Im pretty sure Arteta had always intended for that so maybe Raya was always his top pick but Aaron had to do until he could get Raya in…

A Different George

Yeah, all these speculations sound right–but why in the world was Ramsdale given a new contract if that was the plan?


Maybe to retain his value so when he eventually leaves they can get a good price? Idk, nothing makes much sense in this situation


Maybe the Raya deal moved really quickly and Aarons contract was in the works for a long time?


How about this preposterous conspiracy theory – Arteta is being honest and telling the truth and we have two goalkeepers who are actually competing for a place and it’s not actually a foregone conclusion or an already made decision as to who will start the rest of the games this season, but rather this will be based on their individual performances and qualities. Yeah I know, cray-zee. Truth, honesty… ha!

The Beast

Yeah, I don’t really understand the concern. We’ve got 2 good keepers competing for game time. As I see it, worse case scenario, one of them leaves eventually (which will happen at some point regardless). In the meantime, the drop off between the number 1 & whoever’s on the bench isn’t as noticiable as it was last season.

Genuine question, do ppl think it would’ve been better if we just kept Turner (assuming he would stay), or go for a worse/less experienced keeper to “compete” with Ramsdale?


So by your logic, Aaron deserved to be dropped due to his performances?


Not at all. I think Arteta’s logic, which he explained, is that Raya deserved to be given a chance regardless of Aaron’s level of performance, and maybe also based on opponent, and maybe also to give Aaron a rest, and also to make him aware he can’t rest on his laurels.


Something is broken between Arteta and Ramsdale.

Naked Cygan

I really don’t get why ppl and the media are making such a big deal about the Ramsdale and Raya situation. Personally I think it’s a great great move. If either Ramsdale or Raya get injured then we atleast have one quality keeper fit. I don’t get why ppl think he goalkeepers don’t get injured. We need atleast 22 top quality players 2 for each position. The injuries will come.

The Beast

Completely agree. It’s all a bit wierd & smacks of a slow news day when it comes to reporting on Arsenal.

Naked Cygan

All the money that has been spent on the Chelsea and Sp*rs squad/stadium and the can’t even qualify for the fking Europa Conference League. That is embarrassing. I guess Man Utd will be in the same boat next season. Brilliant 👍


The goalkeeper situation I Just feel like once you settle on a player in any position you’re in trouble, having a really good keeper shouldn’t stop you from going out and buying another really good keeper, the women’s team have done the same up front, a lot of fan’s questioning why sign Russo when we have blackstenius but 2 really good player’s is always better than 1

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