Every word Mikel Arteta has said about Bellerin’s future, Arsenal’s top three and clean sheets

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Every word Mikel Arteta has said about Bellerin’s future, Arsenal’s top three and clean sheets


Liverpool were the first time that Cuba, Laca and Pepe started together this season. Why do you think they didn’t work as a trio?
For different reasons. One of them because we have so many changes in the squad, so many injuries and COVID and a lot of things happening with the competitions that we have to alternate and still be competitive on both sides. And sometimes because the qualities that we have around the team and that cohesion that the team needs, sometimes we have to do it in a different way.

They are obviously very close to the pitch, would you expect them to have more connection on the pitch because of that or is it totally different?

The connection comes with 11 players on the pitch and how they create that cohesion, that fluidity. Against Liverpool it didn’t happen, but it’s not just because of the three of them, it’s because of all of us. It is not good to put individuals in place.

It’s now 12 games without a clean sheet for your team. You seemed to have sorted it around the New Years, but why has it been back for the past few weeks?

It is true that in order to be much more stable, we cannot concede the number of goals that we have certainly scored in the last two games. This is not a trend for us and we need to improve. We are trying to solve this problem.

HectorBellerinseems to have left the team recently. Is there a specific reason for this?

No, it’s because of the decisions we made. He’s played a lot this season than he has in the past two seasons, that’s for sure. Sometimes we have to put him down, sometimes we want to give Cedric and Calum chances as well that in recent weeks he was totally free to offer something different to the team and that’s it. But he’s perfectly fit and in contention to play and start games.

You take the criticism and the blame on your shoulders, but are players feeling it too?

Yeah, that’s just the way we take criticism. For me, it’s not good to receive criticism and feel guilty because that guilt is going to turn into fear. It’s about feeling responsible and that is the key word for me. They need to feel responsible for what we do every day, what we do on the pitch and the club we represent, and then take action. Not too much discussion, it’s time to act.

They have to show the reaction through this competition which seems like the last chance now, right?

This is the only way to do it, because at the end of the day it’s about winning football matches, being competitive in all the competitions we are involved in and winning trophies. This is what we are here for.

Emmanuel Petit said he thought the club looked like a retreat for old players to go on vacation. What do you think of this assessment and are the players showing enough passion?

I do not know. He said that, he knew the club very well and was probably here in the most successful years. He has this opinion, I am here to change this opinion, I am here to give an assessment of what I see each day and where we are at. I know where we are and where we want to go and we have to respect that.

Do you think the players show enough passion whether they feel it or not?

Showing it goes with the character. There are much more introverted and extroverted people who show body language in different ways than other people, that doesn’t mean they haven’t done any harm. For some players, they don’t have that emotion, that passion and that commitment, they won’t be in the football club.

It seems like every week we talk about how it’s the most important game of the season. Is it exhausting enough for you and for the players as well?

I take it every week like this since I definitely joined. I joined in the middle of the season and then we didn’t have a break and it was a deadline, always a deadline where we had to make a decision with a player with a circumstance after a result with a competition. This is what it is and at the moment these are the demands that we have in this football club and that is the role that we have to fulfill and manage. That’s it.

It is true that at the end of the season, when you play for a big club and you play in competitions, you have a deadline. You have to play because otherwise you are missing and it is reality.

You said after the Liverpool game that the players were more tired mentally than physically. How can you revive them?

It’s just getting that inner energy and passion because you have the opportunity to gain something. This energy when you use it the right way is a big lift. Hopefully we can pass this on to the players so that they are at the right time when they step onto the pitch.

UEFA investigate after Rangers’ Glen Kamara accused Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela of racially assaulting him in Europa League final match

Can we get your take on the racist controversy with Slavia and what you think of the player banned for a game?

It’s all about UEFA. There is an investigation there and they for sure have all the evidence and it happened and I don’t think I can make a fair comment.

If the accusation turns out to be true, then are you in favor of strong action against the player and the club?

Well, we are in favor of stopping all racism and discrimination in this game. I think we are making a lot of progress in making this happen. I think all of us managers, players and staff have been very supportive of this.

There were calls for Slavia to be dumped if proven. Is that a course of action that you would support in this case?

Again, that will depend on what happens during the investigation and what rules we have with what action you are able to take if they determine that has happened.

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