Mikel Arteta spoke to Sky Sports after the 3-1 win over Liverpool at the Emirates today, here’s some of what he had to say.
Did it feel cruel to concede late in the first half?
Yes, especially with the performance that we had in the first half, the chance that we created, and as we said, 40 seconds to go up to concede the way we did. It was painful and I could feel that pain in the dressing room, but I said to them: ‘If we feel sorry for ourselves, they are going to punish us in the first 15 minutes, so we need to react to that’.
There’s still a lot to play for and we can beat them. And we went out there, we suffered the first 10 minutes. They changed something as well and they were organised on the press and they were attacking open spaces, which is a really bad thing to consider against them. We started to control the game, we started to play more in the final third and we scored the goals.
Was it a really, really big half-time team talk?
Basically the message was that we knew against them you’re going to have difficult moments and our body language has to be extremely good today, because we’re going to suffer in moments, we have to stick together, we have to navigate through those moments and we’ve done that and we were ruthless when we had the chances to put them away.
It feels like a big, big win and it feels like today as well we have connected in a different level again with our people because the atmosphere in the stadium was sensational.
How nice is it to be able to use that word, ruthless?
That’s what it takes. The games that we haven’t won is because of that, not because the team didn’t perform – but because especially in the box we weren’t ruthless enough. Today we could have paid the price, but in the other box we were really efficient.
Why does it feel so big?
Because at the moment they are probably the best team in Europe. The way they are playing, the way they are dominating games, and the level that they have. They are an incredible team. They dominate every single phase of play. You have to be on your toes, every action. They try to play quick, they try to play fast. And you really have to be at your best.
What does it say about Arsenal that your team dominated (3.5xg to 0.0xg)?
That we’ve come so far and now it’s about doing it consistently. They’ve done it for six, seven years. And this is the second season that we are doing it at that level. But now we have to continue
Fitness issues: re Saka/Zinchenko What can you tell us?
We have lost four or five big players for most of the season. Today Zini, let’s see how it is. Thomas as well, Gabriel Jesus as well, Timber, Tomiyasu is still away. Some big players, but when I have players like Jorgi or Leo, the way they train every day, you make them play 10 minutes or 96 minutes and look how they do. That’s not a coincidence the way they behave every day.
Title race on?
Well, it gives us momentum certainly. Three wins in a row and the way we’ve done it, we are back on it and we are really excited.