Monday, December 4, 2023

Arteta speaks after the match, ‘hits’ with the words about Granit Xhaka – Shows whether he will be captain in the future
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Mikel Arteta was a happy man after watching his side earn a third successive 1-0 win on Thursday night.

Granit Xhaka’s second-half goal proved enough to earn all three points and book our place in the knock-out stages of the Europa League with two games to spare.

After the game the manager faced the media, here’s a full transcript of what he said…

on the performance against PSV and what it means for the next stage…

We are qualified so that’s the first step, so really pleased for doing that, now we want to achieve the second one which is to finish first in the group because we know the difference that’s going to make, in terms of the games that you have to play and against who, and that’s still something we have to do. In general I’m really pleased with the performance with what the boys have shown, and we had some really dominant and good moments in the game, but we lacked a little bit in the final third, final actions, especially inside the box. To put more shots on target and score more goals I think.

on Xhaka being captain and scoring the winner…

He deserves that, he has faced adversity in difficult moments, he has put his arm up when he had something different to do, his work ethic, the way he is as a person, the way he treats everyone around the club, and the love for this football club and profession is unquestionable, he fully deserves that and I’m really happy to see him enjoying his career.

on the importance of the youth at Arsenal…

It’s very important for everybody, obviously for them it’s some experience some of them it’s the first time they’re playing in the Europa League, and it’s great they have the habit to compete in the competition, to understand how difficult it is to play and in the Premier League, and to win. It’s part of the development so really happy.

on winning 1-0 three times in a row…

Great to have clean sheets, I think today we should’ve scored many more goals, the same in the first half against Leeds, that will come but I’m really pleased with the performance and how we played.

on the challenges of rotating the squad for Europa and Premier League…

They are giving we the right reasons to do so, and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give them the opportunity to do that. Especially the way they behaved, trained, and care about the team. So I’m really happy everybody is participating, everybody feels part of it, which is really important and everybody is competing and putting in the performances which are needed to win the games.

on whether Saka picked up an injury…

Yeah, he got a kick, he was limping a bit but hopefully, he will be fine.

on what Xhaka has added to his game…

He does and we believed he had the qualities to do that, and sometimes it’s just unlocking something in the players mind and be more open and be receptive to all the things, he’s been extremely open and his work rate all the time to learn is fantastic, and now I think it’s paying off.

on whether Saka’s playing time is sustainable…

Look at the top players in the world, they play 70 matches, every three days and make the difference and win the game. If you want to be at the top you have to be able to do that and if we start to put something different in the mind of our young players, I think we are making a huge mistake, because it’s one yes, one no. Now I don’t play now in astroturf and I don’t play. I don’t want that. I want them to be ruthless, every three days, they’re going to be knocking at my door I want to play and I want to win the game. There is not a fitness coach in the world that’s going to tell me that they cannot do it, because I’ve seen it 72 games and score 50 goals, the players that score 50 goals, can’t play 38 games in a season, it’s impossible.

on if he has noticed a difference in the mentality of the group…

I think after every game, it’s a bit different, it depends on the win, how you play, how you felt during that match and managing the temperature of the team, making sure they play with enough confidence, that we are on our toes and ready to go to Southampton and put on the performance required to win the match and this is the challenge and we are enjoying the challenge.

on if he can see the confidence in the team…

The confidence is there and you can see that for me it’s the hunger to go again and try to win.

on playing Nketiah on the left and Jesus through the middle…
Changing one thing instead of two, very simple.

on reasons why Cedric is yet to feature this season…

The competition is one, the second one is because he was injured for a while and he had a recurring injury and now he’s fit, and he’s a player who deserves to play, I want to give him the minutes because he deserves that.

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