Every word Mikel Arteta just said on Brighton, Saka, Lacazette, Isco and Arsenal's confidence

The Arsenal manager addressed the media after the Gunners followed up their win over Chelsea with a 1-0 victory at the Amex Stadium

Every word Mikel Arteta just said on Brighton, Saka, Lacazette, Isco and Arsenal's confidence
Mikel Arteta has faced the press after Arsenal's 1-0 victory over Brighton in the Premier League (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Back to backwinsishugely important for confidence isn’t it?

Absolutely. I think I said last week that the best medicine against any illness in football is to win football matches. We’ve done it with two in a row in a very different way because they are very different opponents. But I think we did it today in a convincing way.

Another incredible performance fromBukayo Saka. Just how exciting is he and is he thebrightestprospect in English football?

I would like everybody to be cautious and let him be and let him develop. I think he’s having the right progression. I think he’s got the right people around him in his house in his entourage.

And then he’s got the right teammates as well to support him all the time, give him confidence, keep his feet on the floor, but as well to give him support and confidence. And then hopefully we can be the right coaches around him, be the right club to see the player that he can be in the future.

It’s not too serious an injury is it? He obviously had to limp off at the end.

Hopefully not. He was limping, but I think he took a strong challenge there but hopefully he will be fine.

Everton vs Manchester City was called off last and there are rumours Fulham vs Spurs could be as well. There’s talk of a two week or perhaps even longer break for the Premier League should the COVID cases rise. Is that something you would be in favour of?

Well, I would be in favour of protecting the welfare of the players, the staff and everybody involved in the industry. And whatever the decision the government takes we will support it, because for sure whatever decision is made is just to protect everybody so we will be following the advice that we are given.

What an impact for Alex Lacazette.

I think this is what all the managers dream for to bring people from the bench and win you the game like he’s done tonight. I think he’s been in really good form in the last few weeks. He’s been scoring goals. He’s full of confidence.

Today he had a sore back, he could not start the game. But he came on and won the game for us which is massively important.

As a finisher he’s got such good ability hasn’t he, even though he was cold coming off the bench?

I think it was a great move from Bukayo first to create the action that he did. But then I think apart from the finish it was his movement. The countermovement he made to create the space for himself, the touch and the finish. I think it was a brilliant goal.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Bukayo Saka after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The way Saka has played this season, he has shown maturity beyond his years hasn’t he?

Yes, and today he had a difficult game in the first half because we weren't using certain moments to generate advantages for him and other attacking players in the right way.

So the game becomes really difficult all the time back to goal against a back five in a low block. In the second half the moment we started to play different balls and attack in a different way they found more freedom, more space, and more capacity to unlock the situations and the block and we created four or five big chances and he was involved in most of them.

What does this do for confidence? That’s two wins in a row now, the table looks more positive it must bring more confidence.

Absolutely, in this period as well we know how much we needed the wins. We had a really tough week, and it wasn’t that much about performances it was about the results.

But you need the results to establish that confidence as you mentioned. And now with two wins I think everybody is in a better mood. We have managed through this period to maintain our team spirit and our cohesion.

Sometimes that is not easy to do because obviously the frustration that comes out with defeats it usually, normally affecting the team. Hopefully now we can go in a run of games and be more positive for that.

It’s been a tough season for Lacazette. The way he’s responded in recent weeks, what does that show about his character?

We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments and he’s doing that for sure. Front players need as well their teammates to support them and put them in situations like he had today as often as possible.

But at the same time they have to step up and create these opportunities themselves. I think Laca is working very hard. Since I’ve been here his work has never been an issue. His goalscoring record could improve and but it’s improving because he’s so willing to do it for us also.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal receives medical treatment during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)

Did you say he had a sore back as well because it must have been a difficult decision to leave him out after how he played against Chelsea?

Yes, it was. He finished the game against Chelsea with some pain. We had the opportunity to refresh that and use him as well in some other moments. We didn’t know if Auba could last for 90 minutes.

We knew that Gabi wasn’t gonna last for 90 minutes for sure. So, we had a substitution there and someone with a goal threat that we believe was going to be needed.

Can I ask what did you say at half time because the different in performance was pretty apparent?

Well, we had two issues in the first half. First of all, the balls that we gave away, simple balls in our own half when we were open under no real pressure and they generated one or two half situations. And the second one the way we attack against a block.

That we weren’t efficient enough, we didn’t have enough purpose, and we didn’t have the right intentions with the players around the ball with the movement and situations that we wanted to create. We talked about it and straight away it worked much better.

Will this make any difference in terms of what you’re going to have in the window this year in terms of finances? And obviously you’ve been linked with Isco, is he a player that would interest you next month?

The last few results won’t change our approach to the window. and obviously we can’t talk about any individual players.

Both youngsters seemed to make a huge difference. Both Martinelli and Saka were shouting at Auba. Does the youth add a little bit of a kick?

The youth is great but you need the senior people and the senior players around to guide them, to control them and to give them support as well. We’ve been playing with young players since I arrived here.

I think I have given opportunities to many of those. And now they are maybe becoming more highlighted because of the results we are having in previous weeks. And now the results that we are having with them a little bit more involved.

But as well I would like to respect the senior players and the work that they have done for us through the year.