Sunday, June 16, 2024

Every word from Mikel Arteta’s pre-Manchester United press conference

Mikel Arteta has called on his players to focus on the job at hand as Arsenal head to Old Trafford looking for a win that will take their title challenge to the final weekend of the season.

The Gunners have an abject away record against the Red Devils – just one league win in 16 visits – so the Spaniard knows his players face a huge challenge even if Erik ten Hag’s side are in wretched form and struggling with injuries.

Here’s what the manager had to say when he faced the media on Friday afternoon.

On issues with Tomiyasu and Saka wearing strapping…

Yeah, a few doubts that tomorrow we can resolve because we have another training session. We will have to wait and see. 

On the doubts being…

A few names that you discussed. 

On Jorginho extending his contract…

I think there are no questions about his contribution to the team. The way he feels about his teammates, about the club, the way we play. He’s someone that makes everybody else better. That’s his main quality. He’s still hungry, he wants to win, he wants to win with us. He’s happy here, his family is happy here, so for us it was a really easy decision. 

On seeing himself in Jorginho…

He’s a very important player for all the coaches, because his game understanding, the way he communicates, the way he coaches people is excellent. You need those type of players, but on top of that, I think as a [role] model, it’s very difficult to find somebody better than him. When he needs to be active and serious and drag people with him, he does it. When he needs fun and a relaxing atmosphere, he’s one of the best as well. It’s a good combination. 

On whether he would have signed up at the start of the season for being in the title race with two games to go…

I would take the pen and sign it. 

On the potential for disappointment in the next couple of weeks…

My brain always takes me to the place where we are lifting the Premier League. That’s what my brain is doing at the moment so I just follow my brain and my gut and this is how I feel. This is the way that I want everybody to think and hopefully, we can achieve it. 

On team bonding…

The power of team bonding, nobody knows what is it, but sometimes you get amazing results with it. I’ve been in teams that we have struggled to win a game and go out for dinner, do an activity, and then it’s an unbelievable run. So, again, I’m very positive that that’s going to be what’s going to happen to Fulham. 

On any team bonding that stands out…

We’ve done a few. We’ve done trips with David Moyes. He used to take us around the US and it was one of the best I ever had in my life. 

On whether it’s tough psychologically not being in charge of their fate…

It leaves you a very clear situation that you have to focus and be determined to do what you have to do to be in the best possible position. That’s very simple and clear and that’s what we are doing. 

On preparing his players for it not working out…

No, we have to think that it is going to work and what is going to work is that we try to be better than our opponents and beat them. And the final outcome, that would be something else that at the moment is not in our control. 

On whether United’s form plays into his preparations…

I don’t think about it. Every game has a different context. We know the difficulty, it’s in our history when you look at what we’ve done over there. So we’re going to have to get our best to win the game. 

On Arsenal having a poor record at Old Trafford and it being more challenging knowing it’s a must-win…

It is, and we know what we need to do. But first of all, we have to perform at a really high level to deserve to win the match, and that’s where the focus is. 

On training when City’s game and whether he’ll get score updates…

We’re going to be training. I don’t know if it’s something that we can control, but I’m sure people will be connected to it. 

On being in the title race against City two years running…

Yeah, we are in the journey to try to catch them and try to be better than them, which is the aim and what we have to do. It is an inspiration to have this level of opposition and that’s what makes you better, always, when someone challenges you to go further and further.

On Klopp only winning one title showing how hard City are to beat…

Yeah, and obviously the history of City. Before that as well, they were winning trophies, they were winning the Premier League, they’ve been in an unbelievable journey in the last 10, 15 years. But we want to change that. We’re trying to do everything that we can to improve and get better and better. 

On comparisons between trips to Anfield and Old Trafford…

It is different. Obviously, there are difficulties there, the quality of the opposition, the quality of the individuals, the manager, it brings a lot of challenges. We’ve been in very difficult scenarios this season and we’ve done very well. Hopefully, we can do the same on Sunday. 

On his own personal memories of difficult times at Old Trafford…

I don’t know, I think now we are preparing the game and trying to visualise the game that we’re going to have to play on Sunday. And we put ourselves in a really positive context, that’s what we try to do. 

On beating United 3-1 at the start of the season…

Yeah, it was a game with a lot of alternatives, a difficult one, there were small margins because they had a huge moment when the goal was disallowed, it was 1-2. And then we turned the game around and scored two very good goals. So that tells you the difficulty, the quality of them and what we’re going to have to do to beat them. 

On whether he sympathises with Ten Hag who has repeatedly cited the fine margins against Arsenal…

Yes, for sure, because at this level that’s the reality. The margins are so small and momentum shifts in relation to an action sometimes in the game, sometimes in a season, because you need that momentum for something click and then start an unbelievable run. So, of course I do. 

On Jorginho’s influence off the pitch…

First of all, as a player on the pitch, because he’s a phenomenal player and he gives us so much. And then for the rest of the qualities that he has to bring to the team, to the squad, to the club, to our culture. And we are delighted to have him. 

On Jorginho being an infectious character…

It’s impossible not to like him. He’s a super, super special person. A great family man with a lot of experiences. And he knows how to talk to people, he knows how to inspire people and certainly, he knows very well how to drive a team and be part of a really important team. 

On how he describes his emotions going into the final two games…

Focus. Focus on what we have to do, determined to do what we have to do and at the same time very enthusiastic and exciting and enjoying the moment. 

On where City will drop points…

That’s something that’s not in our hands. I’m telling you how I’m feeling, the thoughts that come to my head and what is driving my energy and my purpose right now is that ambition and that objective that is so good. 

On how he stops emotions getting too high or low at the moment…

Being focused and determining what we have to do is the only thing that we can do, which is a lot, because there’s still a lot to play for against very difficult opponents and we know the turns that can happen in this league and you just have to look at the history of this league.

On City being a juggernaut…

You have to keep improving and try to be better than them when you face them head-to-head, and in a long, long, long season with a lot of demands in this league. But it’s what we know and this season maybe it’s not been as high as we already expected because I think as well the league has gone to a different level this league, something that I haven’t seen before in my opinion but that’s where we are. 

On Ten Hag using revenge to motivate his players…

I don’t know. I don’t know how they’re feeling about this, but we have enough to think about how we are going to beat them and what we have to be to be better than them. 

On whether he’s spoken to Leno or Willian…

No

On Arsenal’s evolution since the 2020 win over United…

It moves so fast and so many things happen daily that you don’t tend to remember much about what happened three or four years ago. It’s true that it’s been an unbelievable journey in every sense, with a lot of changes. And we have come far from where we were, that’s true. But there’s still a lot to come. 

On whether he as a leader still has to psyche players up for games…

Sometimes it’s not related about lead or not lead, it’s about moments, it’s about trying to transmit certain ideas or bring an analogy to a situation that we want to face or provoke. Obviously the team now is differently prepared to a few years ago.

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MONKEY nuts

Has he spoken to Leno or Willian? Who are these absolute tools who ask such daft questions?

Henkamp

I mean, I I just wondering how that conversation would go…

Mikel: Hello Bernd…

BL: Yes, who is this?

Arteta: Errr… *coughs* it’s… it’s Mi… Mikel Arteta. Remember me? I would like you to make sure you get a point against City for us tomorrow. Can you pass this message to your teammates?

Lol. Some of these journalists might want to pursue a different career .

Ebo

“Hi Willian, so you know how you were going to play tomorrow without any intention to do well and get your team any points? I just called to see if you might reconsider that and do it for me, you know, because you have such wonderful positive memories from your time with me at Arsenal, and the fans still love you so much…”

Henkamp

Wouldn’t be bad to see the Willian that showed up on his debut for us, though. He was electric that day

Collibosher

…. against Fulham! Then never played at that level for us again. He owes us!

Teryima Adi

Shylock Holmes 😀

Matt

In Pep’s press conference he just said this, and I’m seething “No injury worries. Everyone is fine. I don’t know what other clubs do, but for many years we’ve had an incredible medical department here.”

What other clubs do, Pep, is follow those 115 financial rules which mean they can’t have a squad that can be rotated at will without any drop off in quality.

Daveo

It helps having 115 doctors on the books to manage the 115 players on the books…

Onenil

And 115 lawyers

CommunistGunner

And 115 secret recipes for team meals…

Eric Blair

To pull off what he has in his career you have to be pretty shameless

ScotchEggsRule

Yes, absolutely yes and he’s always so smug about it. Wenger won doubles, while making a profit in the transfer market. Guardiola will ALWAYS be a fraud to me.

Daveo

So many dumb fucking questions. This “post-media” era really is ridiculous.

Gunner1971

My brother-in-law is a MU fan who has been in denial for years.

I told him last night I’ve got my fork and knife and big napkin ready (Tom & Jerry style).
I want a feast!

Kosballs

Indeed. Time to put to bed those 6-1 and 8-2 defeats we suffered down the years. They’re there for the slaughter

Gunner1971

Empty that stadium by half time please

Daveo

Make sure they know Trafford is very fucking old….

NorthernGooner

I don’t know if we’ll win, lose or draw on Sunday (I’m clearly hoping we absolutely spank them), and this is not a case of making my excuses early but I’m genuinely more weary of the ref and var than I am of whoever plays for utd. Player for player (and manager), Arsenal are miles better than them.

Futsboller

Completely.

Gunner1971

I’m not thinking about refs, VAR or anything like that.

If EVER there was a time to get our chests out for MU-Arse, this is it!

Don’t let us down boys!

Tom 007

It’s time we revenge the 8:2 scoreline…
COYG

Kevin Richardson / Jorginho

I’m thinking 11-0.

Celebration Police

Man U is out of form and playing terribly. However, this is still a potential banana peel. We need to be smart and take our chances. Liverpool is an example of what can happen if we are not smart. As terrible as they are Man U is still Man U. This is their final home game of a tumultuous season. They will want to end on high and they see us more as a rival than City considering the history. They may not be able to win, but can be a spoiler even if it helps their neighbor.

Celebration Police

Sorry, not their final home game but a significant one against a rival

Kevin Richardson / Jorginho

Orange peel, banana skin.

Don’t know why, it’s just how fruits are

ScotchEggsRule

See kids….fruits are dangerous!!

truj

History of City??? Hopefully their recent year trophies will be erased!

William Nilliam

No downvotes on any comments, you love to see it!

Futsboller

A case of downvoticide. RIP.

Teryima Adi

Let’s beat them, folks. Three points in the bag. COYG!!!!!

Dr. Gooner

They have a lot of injuries, not much to play for and they’ve been HISTORICALLY awful defensively this season. They’re starting Casemiro and Evans at CB. If there was ever a time for a tonking at their place, this is it.

John

Show them no mercy. Play at pace and with intensity for 100 minutes. Arsenal can and should absolutely crush Man United this time. No excuses, we are better than them. The gap in quality between us and them is as big as I can remember it in my lifetime. And I’m over 60.

Naked Cygan

For some reason when we go to old Trafford, form is out the window. Somehow they play like Barca and Real Madrid combined against us, no matter the injuries.Due to experience, I will sadly predict this game to finish 2-2. I hope I am wrong, but away to Man Utd we always find it difficult.

Doghouse

Our away form this season has been immense, never lost against the so called top 6, ok Man U getting spanked in their last game will be an extra motivation for them on their turf to show up but it’s up to us how we play, except the same 11 v Bournemouth but wouldn’t be surprised to see Jorginho in at Partey expense.

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