Every word Mikel Arteta just said on Odegaard, Mustafi, Partey, Smith Rowe and Manchester United
The Arsenal boss has been speaking to the press ahead of his side's clash with Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday
What’s the latest team news ahead of the weekend how are the injuredplayers?
Well, I don’t know. We had a day off yesterday. We will be training today and we will see how everybody is. I think Dani Ceballos will be training with the squad in the next few days, Pablo Mari probably as well. Obviously, Martin Odegaard will be joining us as well. For the rest we have to see how Kieran is. And I think that’s it.
Aubameyang missed Tuesday’s game because his mother is unwell are you expecting him to return at the weekend?
I don’t know. I spoke with him yesterday. Things are looking better at the moment but we’re gonna have to wait and see.
As a manager it must be pleasing to see how united your players are dedicating that win to Aubameyang
That’s what we always talk about and what we expect to do for each other. When someone is going through difficulties that we all stand for him. Protect him, give him our love, and be right behind him because it’s what is needed.
Mood and atomsphere
If it's comparing the results, obviously it's much better because after the game the energy when you win or lose is different in the dressing room. In general, how this dressing room behaves, how they are as a group, there is not a big difference. That is the plus for me. What we have done in previous months, we have managed to sustain that in difficult moments and be together as a team.
You beat Manchester United earlier in the season are you confident you can beat this Manchester United side again?
We know that it’s going to be really difficult. They’ve been in top form. They’ve been top of the table playing really well. We know they are a real threat. So we have to be at our best to beat them on Saturday.
You’re five points off the top four. Are you looking at the table or just keeping the run going?
We're keeping the momentum going, the run going, being very humble and understanding that there are a lot of things we have to improve. There is so much we have to do to catch up with many other teams still, and go game by game. Let's see where we get.
What are you expecting from Martin Odegaard? What can he add to this squad?
Well, it’s a player that we followed for some time. We believe that he’s got some special qualities that we need that we have been missing. Now we have to give him a little bit of time. He hasn’t played that many minutes in Madrid, but he’s been training hard. He looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent in our club.
Can we expect him to start at the weekend?
It's a little bit early to decide. Let's see how he goes in training and we will see, don't worry.
How has Mat Ryan settled in?
Yeah he's settled really quickly. I was really impressed when I talked to him. He's really focused, really engaged with what we want to do. He's a very professional guy and he's coming here to compete with Alex and with Bernd. That's the mentality and the desire that we want for any player that joins our club.
You’regood friends with Tim Cahill and Time Cahillisgood friends with Mat Ryan. Did you speak to Tim before Mat arrived?
I did speak to him obviously because I always like to have information with players, with coaches that have spent time with them. I got a really positive feedback from Tim, as well as other people. When you have reliable sources, you feel much more confident to make any decision.
When Odegaard was a teenager he was compared to Messi. Can he still match those expectations and does Arsenal give him the platform to do that?
I wouldn't even suggest anyone could get close to [Messi] because it's a lost battle, in my opinion. Martin is Martin and I think in the last few seasons he's progressed and developed in the right way. I've followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my hometown. I know him really well. I've been really impressed.
He's a such a talent. He needs the right environment, he needs a little bit of time but I think he's got the qualities to be a success for us.
What sort of impact can he have between now and the end of the season?
He's a specialist to play in the pockets. To be in the No 8 or 10 positions. He can play off the sides. He's a really creative player who's really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces. He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals.
Something that he has improved a lot is his work-rate without the ball as well, so it's another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third, and give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.
What’s the latest onTorreira’sloan? There’s been talk of cutting it short and perhaps selling to another club. Monaco have been linked.
We have been talking to Lucas, Edu has been very close to the situation. He hasn’t been playing as many minutes as he would like, as we would like, but to be fair the team is doing so well in Spain and it is understandable they don’t change the team so much. We just want to be right behind Lucas, protect him, help him make the right decisions for the future, so let’s see what happens. But we are monitoring the situation very closely.
Is there a chance that loan could be cut short?
I don’t know. At the moment he’s going to stay at Atletico, that’s my belief and I don’t know if that is going to change in the next two or three days.
Are we likely to see any other movements out? Mustafi, Reiss Nelson Calum Chambers and others have all been mentioned with loans?
When there are still days left in the market there is still the possibility for things to happen. We are in close contact with all the things that can happen and we will see.
Whereabouts are Emile Smith Rowe and ThomasParteyin their fitness?
I don’t know let’s see how they come today. They have some discomfort in different parts Thomas and Emile. We will have to see how they evolve. We still have some days until the game, but not long so let’s see how they recover.
How much of a surprise was it to see Manchester United lose to Sheffield United last night?
It is not a surprise because to beat any team in this league is extremely difficult and people take it for granted. Sheffield United are a really well organised team, they are a threat and they are good at what they do. They lost many games by one goal, where they didn’t even deserve to lose games.
Every game is a [challenge] in this league and anybody can beat anybody. With the context and circumstances we have this season, it makes it even more difficult.
What did you say to Martin to convince him to join?
I just wanted to give him a clear picture of us as a club, what we are trying to do, what we expect from him. Just try to transmit the passion and excitement we had to try to bring him in, show him the project, how he can fit in that project and just try to persuade him that this is the right place for him in this new chapter in his career, and try to make things work.
You’ve had three transfer windows now and Southampton felt like a blue print for your side, is that how it felt for you?
Well Southampton had a lot of things that I want to see from our side, but we still have so many things to improve. You mention three transfer windows and it is still not there. And the three transfer windows because it's been over a year since I joined, but in a very particular way. But things are moving in the direction we want, but I am still very aware of the things we have to get better at.
Do you think it will beanothertransfer window before it really becomes your team?
It will depend because every transfer window is different. What expectation you have in that transfer window, and what actually can happen. There are a lot of uncertainties to be able to answer that question with complete honesty.
How do you prevent burnout with Emile Smith Rowe and Saka?
Well, monitoring very closely what they need, what they are doing and the steps they are taking over periods of time and assessing all the time about where they are. It is not only about the physical, it is about the mental side as well to deal with the pressure, the expectations, and every character is different so we have to manage that very closely.
If Martin Odegaard plays well and impresses you would you like to extend the loan deal?
He has certainly all the qualities and characteristics that we are looking for, for that position. Then it will be down to two things. First of all, how well he adapts here and how much of an impact he can have in our team. Second, what Real Madrid and the player think about it because he's owned by Real Madrid and the player has a big say in that too.
How impressed have you been with how the mentality of this squad seems to be improving?
I am really impressed with the resilience that we have shown as a team and who we have been through those difficult moments. I think that's really important. You really see the people, the players, the characters and the values of a club when things are not going well.
When things are going well it's easy, everybody wants to be on the front page and with a smile to it. I think it's been a really good test, to test again our character but as well, how we communicate and how we deal with pressure. I must say that I have been really impressed with that.
Arsenal haven’t lost to Manchester United in over two years now. Does that give you confidence going into this game or is it a different Manchester United side from the one we’ve seen over the last couple of years?
Well, I think every game is completely different. They have the capacity and the quality to beat any side in the world. We know we're going to have to be at our best because the demands of these games are huge. We need to be better than what we were on Tuesday again to beat them and that's the way we're going to prepare.
Pierre has a brilliant record against Manchester United how desperate are you to get him back into the side if he is right and he feels ready?
Yes, he’s our captain and one of the most important players. We are doing everything we can to have him as quickly as possible. But understanding that he’s been through difficult days that he had to support his family. We were here to support him as well with the time that he needed to get that sorted.
Did Aubameyang have to abroad or did he stay in the UK?
He had to support his family and he had to be with them.
Will there be issues around quarantine or no?
I don’t know what will happen.
Do you expect that Reiss Nelson will leave on loan in the coming days?
That's a conversation that we are having with the players that are not having a lot of time. Obviously we want to keep their development going and we will make decision in the next three days with some of them on what the best thing is to do. Try to be clear and transparent of what there roles are in the team and after that decide the best team for the players and the club.
Has Ainsley Maitland-Niles raised concerns over game time with the Euros coming up?
Yeah it is a concern when there’s international football involved as well. After reaching that opportunity I understand Ainsley wants more minutes. What he needs to do is fight, train and tell his teammates and show us that he can be one of our starters.
Will Shkodran Mustafi be following the path of Ozil and Sokratis in that you’ll be cancelling his contract?
Again, it’s another situation at the moment that is open. We are having conversations internally, with player and agent. We will see what is the right solution for this moment.
Do you expect him to stay?
We are monitoring the situation. I cannot say much more than that. There are conversations going and we will see what is the best one at the end of the transfer window.