Playing Everton was always going to be tricky but last night, Arsenal turned in one of their worst performances on the season in a desperately disappointing 1-0 loss to the Toffees. Mikel Arteta, who was going up against his former side, would’ve been hoping to see something resembling a strong and confident performance – but what we got was the direct opposite of that.
In the aftermath of the defeat that leaves Arsenal needing to win the Europa League, Arteta spoke with the media about what is becoming an all too familiar trend – a poor night at the Emirates.
On being unhappy at the VAR decision on the penalty:
Well, this is because it is building up and enough is enough, and today, to be fair, I had enough. We have had many of them, and no one explains. When they explain, they say, ‘sorry, it was a mistake’ but unfortunately it is affecting a lot of people, and it is affecting our job and most importantly our football club.
On whether he wants someone to apologise tonight:
Yeah, but what they do is behind a telephone.
On VAR being frustrating as a decision went against us but for Everton:
That’s why I cannot understand it and I’ve been in football long enough, and I can watch it 10 times and if I want to find it, I cannot find it.
On whether the defeat is down to what’s happened this week:
No. We knew that that was happening, we knew that our fans wanted to express their feelings and we made preparations with that in mind and it is not an excuse. We lost the game because we had to define the game in the crucial moment, we had the openings or the chances, no clear chances that we wanted, we didn’t do that and then we conceded an own goal. Obviously when we earn the right to score with the decision that was taken away.
On whether the Villarreal game is more make-or-break than he hoped it would be:
We knew that was going to be a crucial moment of our season. To explain how we have lost five point, with the way we have performed in those two games and what the opponent has earned, is pretty incredible to describe. I gave you a few arguments but we need to find me.
On whether we can reach Europe through the Premier League anymore:
It is becoming very difficult mathematically to achieve this now.
On rebuilding trust with the fans:
I think it is a relationship that has to come together from both parties, one giving some opportunities and the other showing that they want to be closer to them. I talk about what my experience is and the relationship I have with them (the fans) and how involved they are, and now my biggest challenge is to get them inside the stadium as quick as possible and show that passion, and that togetherness and unity with the team because the team is desperate for them to be close to us.
On if he’s spoken to Bernd Leno following the mistake:
No. I think we have two really good goalkeepers. Mat got a chance because he deserves it. I said before the game that he’d been training really really well and Bernd is our number one keeper and he’s been doing well and errors are part of football.
On if he allowed the players to be exposed to tonight’s protest:
No, we got inside the stadium. Obviously, they know what is happening. They are all connected to social media and they have access to the information. We let them know the reasons why they were going to be outside and we just tried to do it in the right way to affect the preparation for the team in the least possible way.
On if the players saw the protests:
I don’t know. They were upstairs, I was downstairs, so I don’t know.
On if he would want to stop using VAR in the Premier League:
I really like that we can make use of the technology, it’s just we need consistency, clarity and we want to see their faces and responses. We are always here in front of the media trying to explain the reasons why we do something, why we do the other thing and I think that has to be clear and explained.
On if he means he would like to see referees explain decisions they’ve made:
Yeah, and how they have made the decision. They want to whistle next to us and they can referee the game or whatever situation is going on.
On Bernd Leno’s confidence:
I said that we lost the game for different reasons. One, for things that we can do better and we should do better and the other one that we cannot control. Again, that error, I make many mistakes and everybody that is involved in any sport will make mistakes and it’s part of it, unfortunately.
On the protesters still supporting the team:
I know. I live them, I felt them in the stadium as a player and as a manager for only a month and a half. That’s why I said to you guys that I am desperate to have them back because we really need them. This team really needs them. We have a really young team that has to experience the emotion and the security and the trust that comes when you feel your people really behind you and that’s something that you have to experience to understand the difference it makes rather than playing at home with none of them.
On if the players needed a lift after tonight:
Yeah, they do because they put in a huge effort tonight again, being the better team like they were again against Fulham and we got one point from six so that psychologically is a difficult one to digest.
On if the protests had an effect on the mood of the game:
Well I got [agitated] because enough is enough. This has been building up for some games that have cost us a lot of points during the season. It could have been very very different, not the consequences on the game but the consequences for future games. I never talk about it but in the end I have to defend my club and our interests and today I say that it’s enough.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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