What have you been working on in the last couple of weeks?
It was like a mini pre-season for us in Dubai. We had time to work on a lot of our principles, how we want to set up against different formations, the relevant things we need to work on and off the ball.
Apart from that it was great to be a little bit together, spend some time together, get to know each other, not just with the players but the staff and backroom staff. It was a very productive trip.
How difficult has it been to keep the players motivated?
We’re taking it game by day. To be fair the input, work ethic and commitment they’ve been having through training and games has been really good. They know how crucial the next three to four weeks are going to be for our aims to the end of the season.
They’re really aware of that, they have a good mindset towards that and I think they are highly motivated.
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When do you expect Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to be ready?
Pablo hasn’t competed since the end of December. He had a little issue. He’s been training with us the last week or so in and out a little bit. He’s been looking good.
I think this game will come a little bit too early for him but I expect him to start joining the squad in the next week or so.
[Cedric] is very disappointed, obviously when you join a new club you want to make an impression straight away. He had an issue in his knee. It’s not completely healed yet. He hasn’t been training with us.
I expect him to be back with us in the coming weeks but I can’t give you a date.
Is Kieran Tierney’s recovery looking better?
He’s making very good progress but we need to wait for the bone and attachment with the tendon to heal before he can make any contact. He has been training, his work ethic is incredible, I’ve been really impressed with him. Hopefully we can get him soon but we have to be a little bit patient.
Were you able to achieve everything you wanted during the winter break?
I wanted to give them a few days rest because they had been through a lot of things in the last few months.
After that we reflected on what we did together in the last five or six weeks since I joined, the things that we improved and they are very positive and we have to maintain them and the things we have to improve and develop.
It worked really well. We agreed. We set some targets. We started to work on them. Hopefully we can see the outcome in the next few weeks.
Arsenal transfer news
Are plans underway for the summer transfer market?
Absolutely, we have to plan. We need to know the direction we want to have. To do that we need to bear in mind different scenarios.
With that in mind I have to tell the club what we need, where we think we can improve and where we want to aim. If we all aim for the same thing and we put a plan together to try to execute it…