He said it was a war, and we feel like that’s a pretty “on the money” description.
Arsenal made the trip up north to take on Liverpool last night in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final tie. After a 24th minute red card for Granit Xhaka, many thought the Gunners were destined to crumble – but they didn’t. Instead, they dug deep and managed to grind out a 0-0 draw that leaves the tie finely poised heading into the second leg.
After the game, Mikel Arteta gave his thoughts on the result.
On the team’s performance:
I’m extremely proud of what the boys did today in an extremely difficult stadium against a great opponent, and playing 70 minutes with 10 men. It was about fight, spirit, commitment and as well the quality that they showed to play a game that is not in our strength and not in what we trained, but it was necessary to win. I want to see a team that plays with emotion and transmits everything that we talked about every day and I’ve seen that today, so I’m very happy.
On whether he’s seen Granit Xhaka’s red card yet:
No, I haven’t seen it. I’ve done the interviews outside and now here so I cannot judge it because I haven’t seen the action.
On whether we’re favourites going into the second leg:
We played half-time, probably even less than that, and we need another game. It’s an extraordinary opponent and we got a result in the circumstances. We have to consider that it’s positive, but we have a return leg and we’re going to need everyone back. We need to create a great atmosphere at the Emirates with the fans who travelled today that created incredible noise and gave us incredible energy, and put a real game there to try and get into the final.
On Xhaka’s suspension and missing the north London derby:
Yes, but we came here and we are missing nine or 10 players already. Listen, we don’t know what to expect from the next day, so we can’t be looking at that and all the time having to fall into that and using it as an excuse. We have to play games, it’s our job, we know the context that we’re in and it can change, and it can change to an even more difficult position, but the team has to rebuild and we have players that have decided to play and on Sunday again we will try to do the same thing.
On Saka’s injury and if we could ask for Sunday’s match to be postponed:
I don’t know. He felt something in the last minute, he was really fatigued and I don’t know. He’s a young boy and he recovers pretty quickly, he’s played a lot of minutes in the last months, so let’s see who’s available.
On what’s changed in our mentality away from home:
Well when you come to a stadium like this I said to them, you have to pick players that you are happy to go to war because you’re gonna have a fight, you’re gonna have difficult moments, you’re gonna have moments where you have to suffer and it’s about how to approach those moments. If you are willing to help your team, if you are willing to accept that at some moments you are not going to play the game that you want and then good things are going to happen, so when you play with that spirit and fight and brotherhood around the team, at the end, you get rewarded and I think that’s what happened today.
On how a result like tonight feels compared to a big win:
Well, it’s completely different, the circumstances, the context, the where we play is very different and you have to evaluate the result in each game. What we’ve done today for 70 minutes is extremely difficult to do and it shows how much we want it and we want to get into that final and today was the first step to have the possibility in the second game to finalise it.
On if the game against Tottenham could be postponed:
I don’t know. It’s a possibility in any game from our side, from the opponents’ side, because of the amount of issues that everybody is having and because it’s happening every week, but we try to prepare for the games thinking that we’re going to play. If something happens along the way, it is what it is.
Quotes via Arsenal.com
Can Arsenal nab the second leg win at the Emirates?