Every word Mikel Arteta said on Aubameyang’s absence, Saka’s injury and victory over Spurs

The Arsenal manager has just finished speaking to the press after his side’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the north London derby

What are your reflections on winning your first north London derby as Arsenal manager?

Well extremely happy and proud about the way the boys played today and obviously really happy because we know what it means to our club and our fans. It’s a shame that they weren’t here today and I hope that they will be happy from home.

What did you make of those last ten, fifteen minutes after the red card as it seemed as though you didn’t manage the lead as effectively as you could have?

For sure we didn’t. We managed those ten minutes really, really badly. We put ourselves in trouble and we gave them hope when after that we should just give passes in the opponents’ half and attack in the right moment. It’s a big lesson. It’s great to get those lessons when you are winning.

Can you confirm whether Bukayo Saka came off due to injury?

No, no it was injury. We don’t know he was feeling his hamstring

To go behind when you’d been playing well and react so well, does that say good things about your team’s mentality?

Absolutely. I think we started the game really strongly, we were very dominant, we played in the opposition’s half we regained the ball really quickly, created opportunities and chances. And then Lamela scores an incredible goal, which it was a really incredible unique piece of talent.

After that we have to react. Obviously mentally it’s not easy and when you’ve played two days ago it’s not easy. But I love the way the team reacted, with the courage that they continued to play, the belief that I was sensing from the touchlines. I’m glad with that.

What can this do for the next few weeks?

Hopefully, it will increase the level of confidence of the team and the belief that we can play really well against any opponent, we can beat big teams as well and just maintain everybody together with a big belief. We know we have to put four or five wins together in a row to give ourselves any chance of looking up in the table, but we are ready for a fight.

Emile Smith Rowe is really blossoming; what did you make of his performance?

I think he had a magnificent performance as well again. I think he shows not only quality but his personality on the pitch. His energy gave us something different. Today in a derby you need some big individual performances and for sure he had one.

Smith Rowe smash the Cross Bar Early in the game

Tottenham thought it was a controversial penalty. What was your view on it?

My first thought is that there was some contact. I asked the bench and they said it was a penalty but I haven’t seen the image back so I cannot really comment on that.

There are ten points between you and the top four. Is there a belief you can still qualify for the Champions League this season?

Up until mathematically it’s impossible we’re going to believe and we’re going to give it a go that is for sure. We know that we’re going to have to be extremely consistent, to have any chance in the last two or three matches to be close to that. But we’re going to give it a go and we’re going to keep trying going game by game,

Is this Aubameyangs’s first disciplinary issue and will he remain captain or has the issue been dealt with now?

We deal with the situation on the day. That’s been done. And now we move on. We know how important Auba is and he should continue to feel really important. That’s it. No further comment on that.

This isn’t the first time you’ve taken disciplinary action. Can you just explain why it’s so important for you that those behavioural standards are met?

Because for me it’s the foundations and the platform that we can build something medium and long term that is sustainable and that can bring us joy and happiness. Without that I don’t believed it will happen so that’s why I keep talking about it and acting

Did you feel you needed to make that decision with Auba to set the standards of what you want in the dressing room?

I made what I thought was the right decision. We draw the line there. We know how important Auba is for us, for the club and that’s it. That’s been dealt with and we move on.

How impressive was Martin Odegaard’s energy and pressing? When’s he going to get tired?

I don’t know. He’s got real stamina. He’s so talented but his work rate, as you said, is incredible. Not only that it’s the intelligence, the timing of his runs, when he presses. He really pressed. I think he had an incredible performance today, he’s giving us something different and he’s certainly making us better.

Godsgift C Ejiama
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