Every word from Mikel's pre-Man Utd presser – Arsenal.com

  • September 18, 2022

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After starting the season with five consecutive wins, Mikel Arteta takes the side to face Manchester United on Sunday.
Ahead of the crunch game, the manager spoke to the media about his thoughts on the transfer window, his memories of facing United and the state of the squad.
Here’s the full transcript from his press conference at London Colney:
on Ramsdale and Odegaard’s fitness…
Those two are being assessed, we will see more tomorrow. Hopefully they will be able to train with the team. Unfortunately with Alex [Zinchenko] that’s still not the case, he missed two games and has not been able to train with the team yet.
on whether he is disappointed not to sign a midfielder…
No, we had a lot of things still to do in the squad, you see the amount of departures, compared to the number we have recruited. The club has done a phenomenal job, and put everything on the table to try to bring in the players and the profile that we wanted. We did business pretty early, but unfortunately in the past 72 hours Thomas [Partey] got injured in the same place as last time, and then Mo [Elneny] has a long-term injury. Then we had to react in the market and we tried, but at the end of the day we have to bring in the player that we feel is right for the team and for the club and we didn’t manage to do that.
on whether the squad has enough depth to compete in both the Premier League and Europa League…
It is the team that we have and for me, it’s the best squad and the best players that I have available. There is nothing else we can do, we have an academy as well that we have to use, and we’ll try to utilise the players in the best possible way.
on his memories of Manchester United v Arsenal…
Yes, when I was younger I watched it on TV, watching the rivalry and the special games between the two teams. Obviously as a player, winning is a beautiful feeling and it’s a magnificent stadium, to go there, and enjoy the game as a team.
on whether the fixture still has the same edge…
I don’t know. I think that there have been moments when the history and the media were talking about it, and the special rivalry between certain players built a certain momentum into it. But in England it doesn’t get much better than that. 
on Manchester United’s form…
When you look at the squad that they have, the players that they have signed the amount of money they have spent in the market, it is no surprise – they are going to win a lot of football matches. The history of Manchester United tells you this is going to happen. They are a big rival, we know that and we are going to compete with them.  
on the transfer window…
We pushed to strengthen the team and bring the best possible people and players into this football club and we have managed that to a certain level. Then we have our limitations; time was a big limitation in what happened in the last 72 hours with our midfield. We tried to act but we couldn’t find the right player. 
on not panicking…
I think we have learned a lot from that and there’s still the players that we have to get out. We only have to bring in top talent, top quality people through that door and be very disciplined and in those moments you can make a huge mistake that can cost the club and the team a lot – not just in the near future but a little bit ahead, and we want to avoid that as much as possible. 
on more opportunities for Lokonga and Vieira…
Believe more in the players that we have, look after them better, give them confidence and they have the ability to do it.
on Old Trafford posing our biggest test yet this season…
The test in the Premier League is every single week, every opponent that you play. You see it in every game that will be played this weekend and I don’t expect anything different. 
on Aubameyang moving to Chelsea…
I’m sure he’s made that decision because he wants to change again and find the best possible for his future, and we here wish him the best of luck.
on Zinchenko’s fitness…
Again after missing two games and not being able to be ready yet to train with the team, unfortunately, that is the situation that we have.
on whether this squad is more capable of handling absent players…
I hope we do and I hope we can still play really well with many other players. I don’t have to point my finger at something to lose a football match and that is not something that I do to analyse a performance. 
on whether we will be less active on deadline day in the future due to early business…
No because yesterday we could have done something if it was the right player, the right deal and something that we could afford, because sometimes you have to react to something that happened and we would have done that. Yesterday it was a real possibility and we tried, but then we kept the decision to say that it has to be the right player for the team and for the club. 
on Hector Bellerin…
He called me really late last night and it was more of a conversation that we used to have when we were teammates and really good friends. If you take away the coaching and player situation a little bit, I get back into that relationship as well. I love the kid, I love what he’s done for the club, he’s someone that I have really strong feelings about and I wish him all the best because I know that it’s one of his dreams to play there. Hopefully he can fulfil his dream and get his career back to where he can because he’s still very young and has a lot he can do. 
on what it would mean to win at Old Trafford…
It’s not something new. We’ve done it, we have to do it again and we have to believe from today, yesterday and straight after the game that we are capable of going there and playing how we want in the match. 
on whether we know how long Elneny and Partey will be out for…
No, with Mo it’s probably a little bit easier and we are talking months. With Thomas, hopefully we are talking with weeks or even shorter than that I hope. 
on whether Partey’s minutes and training needs to be monitored differently in future…
We have tried to manage him. A lot has happened since he joined and we are trying to find the best possible way to find the reason why that happens, but unfortunately, the body and mind are two different groups so sometimes to understand that you can’t put your finger on a single thing to try to prevent something happening. The attitude of the player is there and he’s really disappointed to be out again as you can imagine, and the team needs him when he’s back. 
on the importance of getting fees for players…
I always say that the market doesn’t lie. When a player comes and says ‘I have to do that [leave]’, it is very simple. We have to go into the market and the other teams and coaches are going to tell you how good you are, what your value is and what you’ve done. We have obviously tried to get everything done that we can, and sometimes you have to get the right balance. Hopefully we will be in a very different position very soon.
on what is he most proud about with the opening five games…
The feeling and energy that is around the club, and the way the team is playing and performing, and at the end of the day, the icing on the cake is winning football matches. That is the only reason why we are here, and we have to continue to do that. If we keep doing the simple things right and maintain the energy levels, belief and enthusiasm that we have, we’ll keep playing well.
on doing that with a young squad…
It is very fulfilling, because when you see a player six months ago and you review certain things with them from a year ago, sometimes you cannot believe how much they’ve grown in a year. When you have huge talent, hungry personalities and people who love what they do, amazing things happen.
on whether the psychological barrier of Old Trafford is still an issue…
I don’t think so. We have gone through things like that when we hadn’t won at Stamford Bridge for 20 or something years, but you need to believe that you will do that. If you can play the way you want to play, you will win football matches. We’ve done it, and that’s the belief that we have.
on how close we came to signing Lisandro Martinez…
I will talk about the players that we have.
on whether he was surprised by the criticism Martinez has received…
I think every player gets criticism, sometimes positive, sometimes negative.
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.

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