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‘I didn’t like it from the very first whistle’ | Press conference | News

Mikel Arteta was understandably frustrated after we were beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Our manager took responsibility for his side’s poor performance, and was asked about a variety of players, including Alex Lacazette, Willian and more.
 
This is what Arteta told the media:
 
on the performance…
I don’t feel like we were the team we’re supposed to be, we performed below our standards, our ability and I didn’t see the spirit for the first time that I have seen every day in training and every day when we compete. This is totally my fault, it is why I am here, I am responsible for that, to make sure the team performs and competes at the highest level every three days. Today I haven’t done that, so obviously it is my fault.
 
on the reasons for it…
It is very tough to find the reasons. I cannot say I have seen a change or this week that we have trained a different way. I would be lying if I said that. But obviously there was something there today that [Villa] wanted much more than us, and they showed it. At the end of the day, if you are late in ever decision you make, if you don’t win enough duels, if every second ball isn’t for us, you don’t show the quality with the ball, you cannot defend your box, and when you get chances you don’t even hit the target, it is a really complicated way to win football matches.
 
on the lack of creativity…
That is something we have to improve on, to create as well. We need to be more ruthless, but again I wouldn’t like to [point at] anybody – today wasn’t about that, it was about how we went about the job and who we were as a team and what we were transmitting as a team. I didn’t like it from the first whistle, we conceded on a mistake and got away with the goal on VAR and afterwards it was just not good enough.
 
on Auba needing to be nearer the goal…
A team function is a collective thing that we have to do more. We certainly are getting in some situations, but the end product is something we have to improve and about the position and his movement and where we can find him, of course we can talk about is this the right or wrong place for him, but when things were working and he was scoring that debate wasn’t there. What is certain s that with these numbers, scoring this amount of goals is impossible to fight with the top teams so we have to maintain the numbers that we have defensively in our organisation and for sure we have to improve our numbers attacking-wise if we want to be challenging and if you want to be consistent in winning football matches.
 
on the extent of Thomas Partey’s injury…
We don’t know. We have to scan him tomorrow or the day after and see what he felt straight away. Let’s wait and see what the magnitude of the injury is.
 
on if he needs to re-think our best line-up…
Sometimes when you see the way that the boys played seven days ago, not 70 days ago, seven days ago, and you see the way they played today, it’s the beauty of this sport. Unfortunately, you can’t take anything for granted and things change really quickly. I am a very positive person, when things happen like this you take a lot of things from it. You learn and you get to know the players and where we are in a much deeper way. I want to see the reaction from myself first because it’s the first time I’ve had to see with my own eyes my team perform at that level since I arrived here. Obviously, it hurts big time, but at the same time it’s my job to make sure that these boys [perform] on the pitch all the time, and today, for sure, I haven’t managed to do that.

on if Thomas Partey will now avoid international duty…
I don’t know. As I said, the doctor will have to have a look at him and probably scan him. Then we will decide what to do with him.

on if this result will mean a possible change of system in the future…
Yes, for sure. We do that every week. You know, [look at] how we can get into better positions in the final third, with certain numbers in the positions that have to be occupied all the time. The same for how we control the transition moments after not finishing that action when the ball leaves that box. Certainly, as you said, we will look at that again and try to modify certain things to try and get better like we always do.
 
on Laca and Willian seeming to struggle for confidence…
Again, that’s my job, to get the best out of the players and put them in the best possible scenarios as much as possible. If they are not performing then it’s because we have to help them more.

on whether he has to change his plans with the front three..
We will consider those things when we look back on all of the games that we’ve played since the last international break. It will depend on who is in good form, who is in good spirits and how the boys react to that defeat as well. We’ll try to make the right adjustments.

on if he was tempted to start Pepe tonight after his goal in midweek…
Yes, but me personally, more than just the stats I looked at many other things. If we just focus on that, of course there are certain players that have to play. We looked at other things as well without forgetting what you mentioned.

on what he thought of Aston Villa…
I said to [Dean Smith] congratulations to them and big credit for the way they’ve played. I’ve seen them a lot in the last few days obviously and some of the performances they put in were top drawer. When you’re not at the races and this team is at their best, they have the quality players to hurt you and I think they were really good tonight.

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