Were your celebrations on the touchline so joyful because you understood the importance of the moment to the team?
Well yes it was a crucial moment for us because we wanted to go into the final day having every chance of going into Europe next season. In order to do that we knew that we had to win today and wait for some results. With the way the game was developing with it running out of time it looked difficult. But at the way we found a way to do it.
Why do you think there was a change in momentum in the second half?
Well the change of momentum was with the things that we did really well in those periods and then when we stopped doing those things. We started to play the game we wanted to play, applying the plan we wanted to do, avoiding what they wanted to do and when you do that you are under control. We had the chances and we had the dominance in the game.
The moment we conceded the goal after losing the ball and making an unnecessary foul in a really dangerous area we concede the goal and after that we just lost it. We started to give balls away, we didn’t look composed at the back in our build up and we looked uncertain. When that happens it’s long balls, second balls, 50/50 balls and they are much better at that than us to play on the set pieces.
So I think with the changes we got that control back much better. We were more composed, we played in the final third without creating much I must say. But at the end with two great actions, we managed to win the game.
How close is Gabriel Martinelli to starting regularly?
Very close and he needs to keep fighting to be closer and closer. We need to understand where the boys are and the phase of their development, what they have done this season and last season.
I know that we want to play with 11 academy players and all under 20, but guys, who is doing that? I think we’ve done it more than anybody. They’re going to have their chances and they’re earning their chances, we’re not just giving the chances they’re earning them, absolutely earning their chances and it’s a joy to have them in this club.
When the team lost at Villarreal it felt as though the season was over, but it’s now four wins in a row. Do you think that elimination has liberated the team a bit because you’ve responded sowell?
Well after you have to win the football matches to prove you have reacted as a team, but the reaction and the pain in that dressing room is still hurt. That’s what we are using in the final few games to show everybody and to show ourselves that we could have done better but we’re not gonna give up. We want to challenge until the last day to give Arsenal the chance to be in Europe and have the opportunity again to go.
After that Odegaard pass for Martinelli’s goal, a lot of fans will be thinking let’s keep him. What do you think about that?
That is his quality. He’s able to do that. That connection with those runners from the opposite side is something he’s really good at. He found in the right moment the right timing to do it and Gabi as well to manage that ball because it wasn’t easy at all to try to control that ball, pull it down and score the way he’s done it.
You’ve had a lot of late goals go against you this season, was it nice to have one go for you this time?
You saw me in the touchline so happy. When you win the game in the last minutes it’s always really pleasing because as well it shows the team how much they want it and that they believe until the last whistle. So really good.
Do you think Nicolas Pepe is finally beginning to settle now as a Premier League player and are we going to see more of this consistency from him going forward?
Well, I am very encouraged and positive to think that way for two reasons. One because he’s come a long way in terms of consistency and what he’s producing in games, not just in the Premier League but what he’s done in Europe this season.
And the second one because it’s in his mindset. He wants to look at every action, he wants to look at every post-match reflection that we do with him, he wants to work and he wants to be the best. When that happens and he has the talent that he has I think it’s a really good mixture.
Does it matter which European competition you could be in next season?
Well we want to be in the Europa League if I can have the chance to decide. Finish as high as possible in that table and be in Europe.
You’ve given Roy his last defeat at Selhurst Park. How do you feel about that?
Yeah but I think that’s not the relevant thing. I think it was great timing to get the crowd back at the stadium because what they did to him it was really nice and emotional and deserved. So apologise for that but what he’s done in his career it’s incredible. It’s not about what happened tonight.
There’s been a lot of unrest since the Super League stuff. How important is it that fans unite and get behind the team on that last day of the season?
Yeah, you can see today. Honestly, it was touching being in the dressing room just today listening to them create an atmosphere. This is how we grew up and as a player and there’s nothing better than that so I’m sure they will turn round and support the team. We need to create that strong connection again with the fans because I believe that if we have them on board, really behind the team, I think we’re going to have some really good moments together.
In the past, Arsenal have been accused of lacking character. What do you think this result says about their character and the character they will need for Sunday?
Yes, but we have to handle that situation. If somebody would have said to us in November or December when we were in the position that we were in that we were going to have the chance to qualify for Europe we’d have said you are crazy. But we’ve done it.
I think with the results and the number of points we have managed to get in the months, we have earned the right to be in that position. Now it’s time to deliver on the final day but unfortunately, it’s not in our hands.
Source by Football London