Every word Mikel Arteta said on Thomas Partey, Smith Rowe, Mesut Ozil and Newcastle
Mikel Arteta spoken after the 3-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League
How important was that victory tonight? Aubameyang just needed those goals?
Yes I'm really pleased with the performance overall because collectively and individually it was really strong from the beginning. It took us maybe longer than we wanted to score the first goal because in the first half we had some big chances as well. Overall the team looked confident, solid, compact and very clear about what we had to do defending and attacking. I'm really pleased with the clean sheet, goals and overall with the run and momentum that we're in.
Is that the mark of a top striker who can miss chance like the one in the first half and then score in the second?
That's what he's done through his career. Mentally you have to be really strong to do that. He's come out a really difficult period, we missed his goals a lot and today he's scored two and contributed to the team to win which is exactly what we need. I'm really pleased with him.
Was it a sign of how much your team has grown?
It's part of understanding these type of games. When the team is able to come out of these games with these types of results and confidence it helps a lot for the next one. Because they know that the moment it's going to come that we cannot lose our structure and organisation. Of course there were things we had to do better that we had to improve on to be quicker, more consistent, efficient and certain moments in attack. This is good information for us. For them it's great to believe that against this structure we c an play them, outplay them, nullify them to do very little in our own box, and come out to score three, four, five goals.
Your transition from defence to attack looked slicker with Partey in the side?
Yes obviously we've been missing Tommy. He has this freshness, this aura that makes him a special player for us. Hopefully we can keep fit because we can see the difference he makes on the side. I think eh was growing and getting better as the game was moving and evolving.
How much has the confidence grown since that Chelsea win?
We always said that winning is the best thing for any collective team, for us as well. To get three clean sheets in a row, that we're scoring goals and everything is more fluent. The energy and the cohesion, the spirit around the team is better. We have to keep that and there's a lot of things we need to do better and improve but I'm really pleased.
It didn't look like you missed Mesut Ozil tonight? Saka and Smith Rowe were excellent again?
Well Mesut is in Turkey going through the medical that has to be completed. There's still some paperwork that has to be done but it doesn't matter - Mesut's quality will be missed. He's a very special player who has a big history in this football club and if he ends up doing the deal when it happens I will give my clear opinion on that.
Emile and Bukayo are keeping Pepe and Willian on the bench. Is that an easy decision for you to make?
It's never an easy decision because we're talking about big players. In the end we have to manage the players who have moments in their careers in their season and be fair when someone's putting in the performance, it doesn't matter his profile or age. I think they both deserve to ply, they were really good tonight and I'm really pleased with what they're doing for the team.
Do the other players they're keeping out understand?
Yeah, the players who don't play are never happy but we ask them to do it to try to improve and keep pushing everybody. When they have opportunities to show that they are better than the ones that are playing and we are wrong with the decisions we are making. To be fair everybody is training really hard, trying to contribute and the ones that are not plying, their attitude and behaviour has been so far so good.
Maitland-Niles wasn't in the squad tonight. There doesn't seem to be anywhere in the team for him?
He needs to compete for his place like everybody else. There's been a lot of players who have been left out of the squad and had less minutes. Ainsley has played some minutes in the league, a lot of minutes in the Europa, the FA Cup, semi-finals and finals for us. It's about him, his performances and how much he wants to be in the team.
Aubameyang came off with what illness?
It was just a little stomach issue, that's all.
How tough has it been for Aubameyang personally?
Well I don't know. I had various conversations with him to try and help, him support him, even some guidance. Internally you are the one that suffers. To open up it's complicated, he takes a lot of responsibility, he's very critical with himself, he knows his role in the team and knows how important he is for our success. There's only one way. Work harder, put your head down, be humble and try to keep helping the team, that's all.
Partey wasn't renowned for his creativity at Atletico. Do you want to see more of that?
Yes. He can do that technically and is more than capable of doing that. He's great in some transition moments as well and it would take him some time to understand a different way of thinking or doing with the previous team he was involved in but he has all the characteristics to make us better, for sure.
Is that something you want to see moving forward?
Dynamism, his physicality and his creativity, that's a major given. You have that person on the pitch you're able to dominate and grab the game. Thomas has this quality.