Every word Mikel Arteta said on Okwonkwo’s mistake, Willock’s absence and Smith Rowe’s future

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What was the reaction in the changing room to Arthur Okonkwo’s mistake?

That hopefully it wasn’t him. It’s his debut so he was so excited. He has earned his place in the first team with everything he has done in the academy level and unfortunately it started like that. But things will get better. He will have another chance on Saturday so hopefully he can be better.

With Saturday to come how do you expect his rhythm to evolve over that time?

Absolutely and he’s confident in the relationship with his teammates and everything. It’s time to support him. He is our third goalkeeper and we need to give him confidence.

What are your plans for Joe Willock. He wasn’t involved today and there are some reports that he’s close to joining Newcastle?

Well he wasn’t involved today because he had a little groin issue. He trained yesterday really well but we didn’t want to risk him. Joe is part of our plans, he’s our player and in the time that he is here we will try to make the most out of him. He had a great experience on loan. He was I think he was one of the most important players for their survival.

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What positives have you taken out of that game?

The positives is the work out that we had. We only trained for four days. In the second half it was a much improved performance. Obviously the moment we had more senior players on that football pitch it made a difference. It still hurts. When I lose a football match I’m never happy. The positives were as well that we had the opportunity to play some young kids that made their debuts and they should be proud of them.

Are you determined to keep Emile Smith Rowe despite Aston Villa’s interest?

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Without a question. Yes. He will stay here. 100%.

What do you make of Aston Villa’s bids?

No comment.

How far away is Nuno Tavares from being able to start?

He didn’t have all the paperwork necessary to be involved today. But hopefully that will be all ready to go and he can have his debut on Saturday against Rangers.

Have you had a chance to speak to Bukayo Saka after what happened on Sunday?

I have, we all have. He’s been down, but the support the love and the admiration of everybody in world football I think is the biggest trophy that he can have. He had an incredible season, he was the best player in our club for the whole season, he played for England, he earned the place to play right there at 19. What else do you want? Yeah the cup, but you cannot have everything in this football.

Source by Football London

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