Arsenal

Every word Mikel Arteta had to say on Saliba’s debut, White at right back and Arsenal victory

You must be pleased with the way you started tonight and the season with a win?

Yes really pleased with winning, getting the three points and a clean sheet against a really difficult opponent in a tough place where they really got their people going. As we expected we were gonna have tough periods during the match, we showed great resilience to get through them. The way we started was really positive. We started really sharp, really positive, really determined to play the way we wanted to play and overall it’s positive.

Was it the resilience that pleased you the most?

You don’t win here without it and we experienced that last season. We started in a really different way to what we did last year. Building that mentality and finding a way to go through those moments and clean sheets in this league is going to be vital for our success and we have managed to do that. Hopefully that will breed some confidence in the team.

What did you make of Saliba’s display

You don’t really see that at 21-years-old for a debut in the Premier League against this opponent where you face difficult players and resolve the situation the way he’s done it with that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. So big credit to the boy.

Would you have liked the second goal sooner?

Yeah much sooner and be more ruthless in front of goal because we had a situation to finish them better, even in the second half as well but that’s something that has to come. We lacked a little bit that edge. We didn’t finish enough actions and then they had transition moments and that’s what they liked to do. There were parts in the game that obviously we have to do better.

Was the first goal right off the training ground?

I think all teams practice ways to hurt the opposition, whether it’s in open play or set pieces and obviously we worked on that as well.

Last season there was a problem scoring goals. Has there been an emphasis to be more attacking this year?

Well you need the players. Last year the deficiency we had in the final third wasn’t good enough. On a situation that we created, where those situations finished it was nowhere near good enough and near the top teams and we have to improve that. Still we have to do that better. But you feel the threat in the final third that something is gonna happen and that we create fear to the opponents.

Gabby was key to that wasn’t he?

He was electric, he was really mobile, really determined to hurt the opponent and he transmitted that. That creates uncertainty and he created the spaces, movement for his teammates and it’s great to have him.

Was there anything you said to Saliba before the game?

Let him be and let him play. It’s the way he’s done it. The way we have tried to develop that player with his consent and with his knowledge. To sign a player at 19 and bring him back two years later is unusual and he’s been so determined and willing to come here and now prove the point that he’s ready. Now we are exposing the player in a really difficult environment where he can be comfortable and navigate and enjoy as well.

What do you think has changed in the squad to bring about the increased resilience?

We have to change that even more. Those games and those results help you to do that. It’s just what the big teams do, in the difficult moments they have to manage to find a way and they do it and they turn the press into something positive for the team. We have managed to do that today.

Ben White played right back today and had a difficult opponent in Wilfried Zaha. How do you think he got on and is that a position he could play regularly?

He’s done really well. We know individually when you are so tight with him how difficult it is to win the ball from him, he upsets you, the way he tries to play the game is really tricky and we have to discuss. Ben has the capacity to play in different positions and that’s a big plus for any player and he really likes playing there.

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