Every word Mikel Arteta said on Saka’s potential, player welfare and Arsenal’s improved attack


You’re in fourth place comfortably now. Do you start to look ahead to Chelsea?

We go game by game. [Against Norwich] we played some really good football, we won the game, we competed really well, but there are still a lot of things we want to do better. We have a lot of room for improvement and I focus on that. Maintain the things that we are doing so well now and consistency and try to improve the rest. The rest will come.

It’s two years on from your appointment at Arsenal. How would you assess your own performance in that time?

Very difficult in a few words. First of all complete gratitude for the opportunity I was given, the people that I work with, the company that I have around the club and within the club. I’m sure I’ve made a lot of mistakes but all the time trying to do the best for the club and the players.

Looking ahead to 2022, how good can Bukayo Saka be?

We don’t know. What I expect is what he does all the time – that is that he works extremely hard, he’s a really humble boy and he has a really special connection with this football club. His talent is obviously unquestionable, but he needs his teammates, he needs his environment, he needs a cool head and he needs a very clear direction of what he wants to become. Time will tell.

Is it possible for players to play with such a quick turnaround? (Originally Arsenal’s game against Wolves was scheduled to take place less than 48 hours after their match with Norwich)

To play in good physical condition, no because the players need more time to recover. We play in England and you know you have to play every two or three days in the Christmas period. Ideally, if everybody played within the same congestion of fixtures it would be much better. But the circumstances now are not the normal ones so we have to adapt and we have to try. Everything is in our hands to be in our best possible condition to perform.

You’ve scored 19 goals in the last five games. What’s changed across the team to bring about that improvement?

There are a few things. I insist the better we play, the better we understand the spaces and how you have to attack, the movement, the cohesion and the execution becomes better and you get in a much better condition in the final third. When that happens and you have clear ideas of how you have to attack those situations, goals will come or goal situations will come. Then it comes down to the effectiveness of the players in that decision-making.

Did you discuss the topic of player welfare in the Premier League managers’ meeting?

Yes, what I basically said is that we are discussing two things which is the welfare of the players and the integrity of the competition. In this situation, I think we are wasting our time if we want both of them. Because people are saying we need to use our common sense, and common sense at the end it doesn’t work. So at the end, whether we change the rules or the testing system we cannot continue to do that trying to achieve those two things because it’s just impossible.

*This press conference took place after Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Norwich City on Boxing Day with a view to previewing their Premier League clash against Wolves which was scheduled to take place on December 28th at 12:30. The game has since been suspended due to COVID-related issues, however.*

Source by Football London

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