Congratulations on the win vs West Brom. How timely was that ahead of Manchester City?
As I said yesterday after losing you want to win straight away. It lifts the confidence and the mood and this is what we’re here for. We had a big performance last night, we are through in the cup, and our focus is we have to go to Manchester, to play the champions and we have to be at our best.
Are there any injury doubts?
We have one or two doubts from the previous game as well. We’ll know more tomorrow when we all train together.
Bukayo seemed to pick up a knock towards the end of the match how is he?
He was limping after the match we’ll see how that knee reacts but he had a knock yeah.
How much does having Aubameyang, Lacazette and Odegaard available transform your side?
Well getting some of those big players back certainly helps to any team. We know for example with Auba and Laca they are our goal scorers, our biggest threat in the team in terms of goal scoring comes from them. That is something that has happened over the years, so we now how crucial that is for our success.
Having someone like Martin who we just recruited permanently and his qualities help. And then some others who are not in contention yet, but they will start to join the team soon hopefully.
Martin played well last night. Will he be fit to start on Saturday?
He’s a really fit boy. He’s had a great pre-season with Madrid. He’s played enough minutes. Let’s see how he recovers from yesterday’s match, how the others are and if he’s ready to start.
You’ve used a few different players in the right back position. Is that a spot you feel is up for grabs?
Well we have different options, different qualities with Hector, with Cedric, with Calum, with Ainsley. We had a lot of issues through the season. They have missed training sessions from COVID, they got injured, some of them they haven’t featured. We’re still looking depending to the opponent and the form of each player what we’re gonna do there.
You said last night that you need to prepare mentally for City. What does that take?
It’s the level that they read the game and the level that you have to be mentally ready to run for long periods of the game without touching the ball. To do the sacrifice, being prepared to suffer in the right moments.
But as well having the conviction that we’re going to have our moments in the game and when our opportunities arrive, we have to take them. That’s how I want to see the team. That they are fully committed, fully prepared and that they can go to Manchester and believe that we can get the result that we want.
Aubameyang and Lacazette returned from COVID last night. How many other players in your squad are still suffering?
Well from COVID we still have Ben out, Alex Runarsson that has been out. The rest of the players that are missing – hopefully, because we are going to be testing today – are injuries and long term injuries that we don’t have them back yet.
Aubameyang’s performance last night showed how good he is in that centre forward’s position. Do you think that’s where he can make the most impact going forward?
I think he can play in both positions. Either on the side or up front he’s scored goals all through his career. He had moments here where he scored more playing as a winger than a nine, and also the other way around. It’s about him getting his best form.
Physically he’s still not at his best because he’s been out for a while. And when he gets that it’s his confidence. He’s done it all his career and the team put him in this position as much as possible and he will put the ball in the back of the net.
How close is Gabriel? Could he feature against Manchester City?
He’s getting closer. He’s had a couple of sessions with the team. But we don’t know let’s see tomorrow how he is.
How do you assess your work in the transfer window? Are you looking to add a few more players before deadline day comes?
We don’t know. We already done a lot of things. Ins and outs it’s a lot. I think it’s 16, 17 deals in total, with some renewals, and there are still some things to do in the last few days because there are still some question marks and deals that can happen. We’ll see.
What are your thoughts over releasing players to red list countries for World Cup qualifiers?
It’s not in our hands. We had a really strong opinion on what we have to do. The protection we want from the Premier League and the government we want to be aligned because we are playing worldwide and the international’s they have their duties and we have our duties. So the biggest and the easiest thing to do is that they get aligned and common sense comes on the table and no one else is affected with it.
What’s the biggest thing you learnt from working under Pep Guardiola?
First of all, that you have to believe in what you do. And that in any difficulty moment you have to stick to what you do and the whole team and the whole club sticks to what we believe and the decisions are made all the time in that direction.
How important could this game be for changing the narrative around Arsenal’s start to the Premier League?
It will be great. It will be a massive lift to go to Manchester against the Champions and get the win. It will change the narrative a lot and it will help us in the table for sure because we need the points. So that will be the game to take.
What would constitute success for Arsenal this season?
That we’re winning matches.
Have you felt a momentum shift over the past few days with the new signings, players coming back and the win?
It does because we need our best players and we need a squad that is fit and healthy and we can prepare matches with certain normality. Hopefully by tomorrow we will get the squad in a more normal place even though we are still missing six or seven players. But we can prepare the game and then we can put the players on the pitch with the preparation that we’ve done.
Last night you said you were pleased with the togetherness of the players. Does it feel like they have a point to prove?
Well they have to succeed that’s for sure. They want to make people happy. This is our responsibility and we have a big job and responsibility because we are able to do that and as well, we are able to create disappointment when things don’t work the way we all want.
But the commitment, the desire, the togetherness, the atmosphere, anyone who comes through this door they can see what is building. Then they have to be supported with one thing, which is incredibly necessary, which is of course results in football.
It’s been over a year and a half since you left Manchester City. How much progress do you feel you’ve made in that time?
Well, I think they maintained a big part of the squad. They still maintained a lot of things that happened before and certainly they maintained success because they keep winning.
Is it still an enjoyable experience managing Arsenal?
For me, the best experience that I had in football.
You may be aware of the report this week that says you have five games to save your job. What do you feel when you hear something like that? Do you sense the urgency?
I sense the urgency since the day I arrived here to change the situation that we had. To try to improve in many areas that we are struggling, where we have issues, and try to win as many football matches and trophies as I can.
That’s not gonna change if we win the next three games or if we don’t. That certainty, that desire to do well, that commitment to bring success to the club it has to always be there. I think you need to feel that as well to get the best out of yourself.
What’s the latest with Ben White? How’s feeling with the COVID and is he definitely out for Man City?
He’s asymptomatic, he’s been feeling good. As quick as we can we’re going to bring him back to training and he’ll start to play games with us again.
There are some reports that Willian is set to leave Arsenal and return to Brazil, is that something that you expect in the coming days?
We are having some conversations with him and the agent and we are evaluation the position that we are in at the moment.
Why hasn’t it worked with him do you think?
I don’t know at the moment he’s an Arsenal player and we’re trying to get the best out of him while he’s here. Anything different is just maybe things that can happen.
City are in the market for a striker and things went wrong with the Harry Kane deal. Do you have any concerns over them coming in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
I don’t know. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is our player and he’ll remain here.
Is there anyone in the squad at the moment that if an offer came in and the money was to good to turn down that you’d have to take it?
I don’t know we haven’t had that situation, and probably that situation is more for Edu and the board.
Sead Kolasinac played last night. Is that an indication that he’ll remain at the club beyond the end of the transfer window?
No, it’s an indication of every player that is with us that is training and behaving the way Sead is, when we have the possibility to give them minutes, we want to be fair because that’s what we demand from all the players. He’s our players and we treat him exactly the same way and then we’ll see what happens.
So you’re not sure whether he’ll stay beyond the window?
At the moments he’s staying because he’s our player.
Source by Football London