Ahead of our FA Cup fourth-round tie against Manchester City on Friday, Mikel Arteta held his press conference and fielded questions from the press.
He spoke about many topics, including the recent arrivals of Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior, the form of Eddie Nketiah and his thoughts on his friend and former boss Pep Guardiola.
He had to say everything here;
in which the strong team looks to the field:
There is no more news on the team, especially no injury. Obviously, we made two new recruits in this window. It’s a great match, and a great witness for us against, in my opinion, the best football team in the world. I’m looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are.
how quickly Leandro Trossard made an impact on the Man Utd game;
I would like that. I see a player who wants everything to happen, and is especially composed in the final third and is something that needs to be added to the team. He immediately had a beautiful impact on the team to help us win.
whether Jakub Kiwior means versatile, we do not need more signs this window:
It gives us more cover. We were short-handed with three main defenders in the first half of the season, and we were lucky with injuries. You need to recruit in that position and I did this – Jakub plays different roles and is a versatile player, and he goes to strengthen the team. If there is anything else available that can make us better, we will look into it.
if his relationship with Pep Guardiola has changed and now they are competing for the title:
I always hoped that [a title challenge] one day was to be, and this time it was, but so that neither our friendship nor our moments should change, however much it may be in my life or how much it may be in my profession. We both want to beat and defend our clubs as best we can, and that always happens in one day.
on if Martin Odegaard gave any advice on dealing with Erlingo Haaland:
No, I think there are two players in top form at the moment. I think [City] have, and we have well, have players that are in a great place, and are very important in the squads.
on if Eddie Nketiah can maintain his current form:
We all have this challenge, not just Eddie, not to be at that level, but to be at a better level every day. I think Eddie was very consistent and surprised a few people how he responded to the huge challenge and demands he had after Gabriel. [Jesus] got injured We are positive that we will continue to develop and develop much better.
if too much attention was paid to the passion of his touch;
I do not know. I focus on things I can do better. Of course, there are things I can do better and take the refereeing game and be in charge of that. I need to look at myself in the mirror sometime and find the right balance. I love the game, I’m very passionate about it and more than anything else I love to win and that’s how I live in competition. But again, if there is something you can do better, you can at least try it.
on whether there will be a benefit of mind to the victor for the rest of the time;
I think there will be two very different games, and a very artificial similarity in them. Maybe because of the cast, but also the context is very different. Let’s see – of course it’s important to win and play well. More importantly, it gives you more confidence and prepares you better for the next competition, and that’s what we have to do on Friday.
What’s the winning mentality to develop?
I believe the key word is believe – not only our faith but the staff believe, the players believe and at- that we have created with our people in the stadium. You could feel it even when we were 1-0 [against Man Utd] that we could still go on and win. We manage the emotion in the game much better than we used to. We play better than before and we deserve the right to win games, and then football, as we all know, is very priceless.
whether the club was more united here now than at any other time;
I don’t want to compare how it was in the past, but I would say that I am very proud and outstanding at this moment in the football club. I think we all feel the power and the power among all of us to get the club where it belongs.
the impact of Oleksandr Zinchenko:
He is a player who gives us everything we want in that position, and gives us versatility. It also takes a lot of attention and fills a lot of space, and that’s really important to us. I will emphasize his mind most of all; What he brought is a real desire to win and to do something special with this team, and the experience he had in the past is very useful for us to do that.
if three games against the city will define our season;
It would be because if we can win on Friday, we will go through to the next round and they won’t, and if they did the opposite. Obviously, it is a competition that is really important to us and is linked to our history as a club, and we want to define it at a certain moment.
if he contends with the city before his destination;
I don’t know, but this league is an incredible challenge for you. You have the best coaches in the world, and the best coach in the world, and to be at that level you have to find other things to try and compete with them and where the opportunities come. We are on that road, but we understand that we have not done anything yet and there is still much to improve.
day, if Mohamed Elneny will be fit;
I don’t think it will. He had some issues with his knee that we are evaluating at the moment and I will have to see how it develops in the next couple of days.
whether the injury might be prolonged;
There are some concerns, especially since Mo never complains about anything but we’ll see.
whether there is enough in the midfield after the arrival of Kiwior;
We need more cover in the middle of the field if we can, but in this market it is quite difficult to do that. As I always say, the most important thing is that we get the performances and the time on the pitch that we need with the players that are available today who are already really good.
if he feels especially against his most friendly character;
I’d rather be fair to someone else, because I want the best for him. When you are challenged by this struggle, there is something in between that feels so strange. It’s a who’s who, and it’s a big deal.
in which Guardiola brought us the signing of Jesus and Zinchenko;
It was done in a very sophisticated way between the clubs, and especially between us [him and Guardiola] because it is honest to do. It was agreed among all, as you have read and heard several times, that it was thus debated between the three parties, otherwise they would not have been present.
if his luck at his former club Everton makes him sad;
This is because I love the club so much that it is my favorite and most beloved. So I hope they can get where they deserve to be and move everything quickly and get everyone back together and out of this thing.
in Gabriel Jesus suggesting that he could return in four or five weeks;
With that I don’t know, it wants to be in next week! This is clearly ambiguous, but it motivates and drives everyone [in the medical team] to measure I cannot give you an answer; Hopefully it will be weeks and not months, but it was a serious loss and we need to pay attention to that process.
in the impact of Jesus behind the scenes:
He was incredible with the boys, the staff and the staff all around. His energy and how positive he is to the children – he always gives advice and is always there for them. It was terrible.
having 50 points from 19 games;
What we do gives us enthusiasm and hope to dream, but we know that half the time is to play, and in the Premier League the story is hell and many chapters have yet to be written. We need to ask what we are doing every day.
on being the favorite to win the title:
We can’t control that, but what I would say is, when you look at what’s happened in the last few times, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we accept it OK.
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