Just when we think Arsenal are down and out, they turn around and pull off one of the shock results of the season. Last night, the Gunners surprised a whole lot of people by picking up a huge three points against Premier League champions Liverpool in a game that many expected them to get battered in.
After the big win at the Emirates, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spoke with the media as the club’s push for a place in the UEFA Europa League next season continues.
On two mistakes from Liverpool players leading to goals:
It’s part of football. It’s a team sport but there are a lot of individual moments and battles that have to be played. Today we forced mistakes and they made them. Obviously that makes the difference in a big game.
On withstanding Liverpool’s pressure:
Unfortunately with the level of dominance, the way they control every aspect of the game, there are going to be little moments or big moments where you’re going to have to defend very close to your area and we knew that. We prepared for that and the boys were terrific. Sometimes we did it really well and sometimes we had moments of luck as well.
On if it was surprising the way we held out:
No. I am really pleased. We have talked a lot about it. If you want to win these games at the moment, with the difference of the two teams, we need to put everything on the line to get the points. I am really pleased because they can do it. It’s about keeping the right spirit and level of attention and I’m delighted that we’ve done it today.
On Trent Alexander-Arnold’s challenge on Bukayo Saka:
It was in front of me and it’s part of the game. I think they both went for the ball and that is part of the game.
On if having low possession is the blueprint to face Manchester City:
It wasn’t part of the gameplan obviously [to not see much possession] but at the moment you can see in many areas the gap between the two teams, what we have to achieve and the areas we have to improve. Certainly there is one area that we’ve caught them on and it’s the belief, the accountability, the passion… they play for every single ball. With that we can beat a lot of teams. Against Tottenham we had total dominance for several periods and we lost the game, so we will find the right balance but credit for them as well for what they have achieved.
On how long it will take to close the gap to Liverpool and Man City:
Well, I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it to do it in one year, and I’ve also seen other clubs never do it, or some do it in four or five years. It depends on the context, it depends on your resources, and it depends on how much you have to change. But we are in a process and we don’t know at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty in many areas, but what we can control now is who do we want to be as a team, the culture that we are building to do that, the spirit that we need to be successful, and then improve our players and my main focus is on that. I want to make our players better and I want to make them more comfortable and create an identity for the football club because then it will be easier to say we need this, this and this.
On how much our youngsters give him optimism for the future:
Well, the first thing is the selection because I cannot tell them that I believe in them and then never play them. We try to make sure that everyone fits as part of the team because that’s how you keep the spirit, and you have to put them in big games as well. They showed today that everybody is ready. It’s the way they train every day, it’s the way they have been behaving every day, and everybody deserves a chance. Today they showed that they could do it.
On whether he needs substantial finances to rebuild:
I think it’s pretty clear that we need to strengthen the squad.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
Will Arsenal end up playing in the UEFA Europa League next season?