Many felt as if it was incredibly unlikely, but when it mattered the most, Arsenal Football Club stepped up to the plate and got the job done as they captured the FA Cup once again on Saturday evening. They were able to come from behind to beat London rivals Chelsea 2-1 in the final at Wembley, cementing their place in next season’s UEFA Europa League in the process.
After the game, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta took the time to reflect on the victory when speaking with the media in his post-match press conference.
On Aubameyang’s performance and whether he could stay:
Well, you asked me my opinion and that’s the feeling I get with conversations with him and his people, but obviously nothing is done yet and I want to enjoy the victory. Thanks to Auba again for the performance that he had and how much he helped the team.
On his message to the supporters:
Well, it’s a great start! Thank you so much for being so supportive all the time and for the reception I got on the first day when I walked through this incredible door. I completely understood that the needs of this football club are so high and I want to meet those demands. I know that there are expectations and this trophy is for them, for them to enjoy and for them to be proud of their club and their support and the players that they always cheer for. Hopefully they can enjoy it together and maintain the distance, please. I want them to enjoy it because it’s all yours!
On whether this is the first step in his project:
Yes, I knew the challenges I was facing the day that I decided to come here and the expectation is what we’re always going to have because the history and legacy of this football club is incredible. But here is the first one, let’s enjoy it today and we know that there is still a long way to go of improving on many other things, but it’s something that I’m very proud of with how we’ve changed a lot of things since we joined. The players have been fantastic and the staff, thank you so much as well to the people upstairs who have given me the opportunity to represent and manage this incredible football club. Again, thank you so much to the people for their support and belief.
On Aubameyang dropping the trophy:
It can happen! I think it can happen, he needs more experience with trophies! We can get him used to that.
On why he thanked Pep Guardiola:
Well, there are two people. One is Lorenzo Buenaventura, the fitness coach, the other is Pep Guardiola. They have been two key figures in my development as a coach and they always believed in me. They gave me the incredible opportunity to work with both of them and that is my gratitude. I know that I wouldn’t be sitting here today without them. We had an incredible journey together and they always gave me the feeling to decide my future, even if it wasn’t a very easy moment, so I have to thank them big time because they are a very big part of that.
On Aubameyang’s contribution today:
Big games require big moments from big players, and he’s delivered that in the semi-final and he’s done it again in the final. That’s why you ask about those players. Some were questioning that he couldn’t do it in big games. There we go. He was a big, big part of delivering this trophy. He’s done it and we are so proud to have a player like him in your squad.
On whether this is the greatest moment of his career:
I think so. I’m really proud of what we have achieved because I know the difficulties and everything that we have been through. For me personally, it’s been so tough the last six months because of a lot of things that have happened in our lives. But I had only one mission when I came here and it was to make the players and the staff believe that we could do it. We had to change that energy and that mentality. Just by seeing them in the dressing room all together, the way they enjoy the professionalism and their time together… it makes me more proud and it’s a consequence of that, that afterwards we can achieve things and win titles together.
On William Saliba and Shkodran Mustafi being at the game:
They are all part of it. We don’t have Matteo and Mesut here and they are a big part of it because they all contributed to it. They all should be a big part of it because all of them have contributed to this country.
On Guendouzi and Ozil not being at the stadium:
Let’s enjoy this moment.
On using the drinks break to change the tactics:
We can always use those moments to make some corrections and try to give valuable information to the players to try to help them on the pitch. I think after the conceded the goal, we had probably the best 35 or 40 minutes since I arrived here, against a team that in my opinion is now one of the best in Europe. The way they’ve performed and the results that they’ve had against any team in the last few weeks… big credit to our players.
On how tough his introduction to management has been:
I think I could write a book because it is day after day. Mark [Gonnella, communications director] has been here every day with me, and every day has been something different. There was always an issue, a setback or another problem. I am very lucky with the people I have around me in the staff, and the people I work with and trust with every decision I have to make. Until you are sitting in this seat, you don’t know the responsibility and the decisions that you have to make. I try to make them all the time with my heart, my gut feeling and what I believe is best first of all for the group of players, and then after for the club. Sometimes I will get it wrong but I am proud of what we’ve done.
On whether he could’ve made it through this period if it wasn’t Arsenal:
I think that has added a lot of pressure on me because I know the standards and the expectations that are linked with this club. But as well, I knew a lot of the inside and a lot of the people I trust at the club who could give me very valuable information in order to accelerate the processes a little bit. I had to rely on them big-time. They’ve been really supportive of me and they jumped on board straight after I joined, so I have to thank them big-time.
On whether we will hear any news on Auba’s future in the next week:
I hope so. Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future, what I expect from him, the team that I want to build around him and the conversations I have with the people who are very influential around him. The club, we all respect and admire him, the players are all behind him. We know the players that we have and we have to value him. I think if we reach all of those points, we’ll make progress.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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