Emile Smith Rowe looked to be limping off against Manchester United. What’s the latest on him?
He had some discomfort during the game and we decided to take him off. He’s been evolving well over the last few days, so we have to wait until tomorrow to see how he is.
And Granit Xhaka, any news on him?
Granit is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he’s feeling better but no more news on that.
No more positive news then?
It’s very positive because the evolution he is doing is great. He is partially training with the team and he is heading in the right direction.
What’s the mood been like after Old Trafford? There was a feeling among the fanbase that Arsenal were the better side.
Yeah and that was I think the mood after the game. That we were extremely disappointed because we threw the game away and I think we should have taken more out of that game. It was very pleasing for periods, because the performance that you are able to put in against that team was very positive. But as well you need to know how to win those games when you are as dominant as we were in periods against them.
You have just one win against the traditional ‘big six’. Where do you see your team at at the moment?
Against them you have to put the performance into a win and that’s a different story. We had the performance but we didn’t have the points. So that’s what we have to evolve and learn and get better at.
Are you concerned that Aubameyang hasn’t scored in his last five now?
Well, you always are when your main striker isn’t scoring goals but he is trying his hardest. He is aware of how much we need him as a team to score goals and at the moment, they are not coming but the rest of the things we are asking him to do, he is trying his best.
Has the position changed in the January transfer window given the lack of goals?
No there’s no change. I think we have to focus on the players that we have. Try to make them, better and take more chances than we’re doing because we need more margins in games to win games and that’s what we have to do without losing our solidity defensively, which we have been good at, and try to add more goals to the team because we have some goals there.
Everton are going through quite a rough patch and are a team that mean so much to you. What are your thoughts on the situation there?
There are a lot of teams that are going through that because this is a league has become that competitive that the moment you lose a game or two, the pressure is coming for everybody. It is no different there. Obviously it’s a very special place to go back there because I had some amazing years there, so I’m looking forward to it.
They’re winless in eight. What kind of game are you expecting?
A team that wants to put things right and win. On Monday night at Goodison I know what I am going to expect under the lights with the fans they have so it will be a tough game.
Is it outrageous to think Granit might be involved in some way on Monday?
This week he has progressed again to a different level, and tomorrow we will assess how he is, have a conversation with him and decide when is the best moment to start to give him some exposure in games.
How much of a boost is it that he’s almost ready?
Yes, it will be and we miss him, he is one of our leaders, one of the senior players who adds something very valuable to the team. Hopefully we can have him back soon.
After the match against Manchester United you said you wanted more leadership from the senior players. Is that where Granit comes in?
No, what I said is that the senior players are the ones who have to lead and the young are the ones who have to follow. We need that balance in the performances on the pitch and as well off the field. We are getting that balance right and we have to continue not to rely too much on the rest. But this is a team, it’s not two teams that are split, and we need that balance and to manage those moments.
How can you as manager make that happen?
First of all keep demanding the best from everybody. Ask them for things they can do and they can do well, and do well consistently. That’s what I try to do all the time.
Yaya Toure has been doing some coaching at Tottenham as he tries to get his badges. You worked with him at Manchester City, would you have him at Arsenal?
He has my number as we spent some years together. He is a player I appreciate a lot so he can call me and ask the question.
Has he got coaching credentials in him?
He certainly has the experience and expertise, and has won a lot in the game to add value to the game for sure.