Arsenal

Every word Mikel Arteta said on Martinelli’s performance, Aubameyang’s return and Lacazette

It was quite an emotional night. Can you give us your feelings after that win?

Well really pleased with the performance. The attitude the commitment, the quality that we showed in the game and the chemistry that we generated again with our supporters. To win a game at home it’s really important because it sets the tone of the team against a good side who it’s difficult to dominate the way we’ve done today.

Did you need to say anything to the players about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and why he was out before the game?

The players play for the club and the players play with the fight and the energy that we all expect from them. I was really happy from the beginning. How they see it, how focused they were the energy they put in the performance because we knew we had to play really well today to beat West Ham and I think we’ve done it.

We saw how good Bukayo, Gabi and Emile were. How good can they be?

I think they were good, all of them and the senior players led by example. We had some really strong performances, which is needed to beat this team and I’m really pleased. We shared the goals. It’s important for Gabi to score a goal like he did today. Everybody, in general, I’m really pleased.

Does it help that those youngsters are growing and going through this together?

I think it helps because they know each other as well, some of them from the academy. The chemistry is there. I really like the link and the way the senior players are contributing and really enjoying helping those boys to raise in a context that at times has been difficult, but they’ve been really consistent.

Any news on whether Auba will be involved against Leeds?

No news.

No change?

No news.

Was that Martinelli’s best performance for you?

Certainly, it was one of the best in every aspect of the game. Physically he’s growing, today he was cramping again, and he needs to mature on that side of the game. But his overall understanding of the game is much better. He’s able to put some gears into his play sometimes instead of doing everything 100 miles per hour. But the energy and the quality he shows up front is top.

Lacazette has been captain twice now, is the armband his for the foreseeable future?

Well he’s the next in line and he’s taken it the way everybody saw today with such pride and commitment. I’m really happy again with the way he played.

Is Lacazette really embracing the captaincy role?

Absolutely. But Laca has always been like that in the dressing room. You see how he is with the other players how willing he is to help. It’s in his nature. He’s not a selfish player. He’s a player that’s happy when he makes the rest better. He’s like this in the dressing room as well.

What did you make of the penalty incident?

I haven’t seen it so I can’t judge it.

It’s nearly a year to the day since you lost to Everton and were four points above the relegation zone and now you’re into the top 4. Does that show how far the project has come?

Well obviously, there are really positive signs. Not only that but the way the team is playing. We made some progress but there’s still a lot to do and we have to be aware of that. We had some bumps in the road but I think we have learnt a lot from them. First of all, because we have stuck together all the team, all the staff.

Then the biggest compliment that I can feel and the players are feeling exactly the same way, is the way that we have our crowd behind us. It’s been a while but to see that chemistry between team crowd is unique. I’m so proud of that.

Does it mean anything now to be in the top 4?

No because this league is going finish in May. It’s better than where we were, but we want to be higher. We need to find a consistency. We know the level of this league. This league is ruthless and what it’s done today, tomorrow is different so let’s prepare for the next game.

You have one of the best home records in the league, but it’s not the same away. Do you need to now start producing these types of performances away from home?

The performance isn’t the result. For example, when we went to Old Trafford and played better than last year but we lost the game. That’s why we have to come away from those grounds when we get the performance with the results. That’s the next challenge.

Lacazette and Martinelli made the most tackles of anyone in your team. How important is that to set the tone?

That’s what I demand them to do. If we want to play the way that I want those players have to do that consistently in every action. That’s why it facilitates everything that happens in behind because that process is done at the right moment with the right rhythm and intensity. I’m really pleased with that.

Probably yes because they show exactly what I expect from them which is total unity with the team. We are building a project, and I always say to build a project without our people that we play for it’s going to be impossible because they are the biggest pillar of the project that we have. When they are with us and the team grabs that pillar then we can become really, really sound. So I’m really pleased with that.

This is another clean sheet for Arsenal. Are you happy with the progress your defence is making?

Yes, but as I said before I think it’s a collective matter. When you have the front players doing the work like right now it facilitates everything. It’s true that we have made a lot of progress in understanding, in preventing situations and we have cut down a lot of individual errors which in the past cost us a lot of points. So I think we’re in the right direction there.

 

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