Mikel Arteta faced the media gathered from the UK and Norway this afternoon to review tomorrow’s Europa League group game against Bodø/Glimt.
The manager was asked about his thoughts on our opponents, opportunities for some of the team and contract renewals, among other things. Here’s all he said:
We have done our duty. Obviously we made the players aware of the team we face tomorrow, the history and what they’ve done in the last few years, and we have Martin on the team who knows them well and he did his duty in the dressing room to understand that tomorrow’s game is going to be tough.
About our team rotation:
This is what we should try to do [keep our momentum going]. The best way to do this is how we prepare each day, stay focused on the task and on everything we do well, and stay humble. There are a lot of things we still need to improve and maintain this desire each time to get better every day and to increase the competition among the team members, because now everyone wants to play the game tomorrow.
On new deals for Saliba, Saka and Martinelli:
Obviously we have to plan for the future and we’re all working on it. Edu is on top of everything and we will try to do things the right way, be fair, try to plan in the best possible way and reward players who in our opinion have a great future for the club. When we have something to announce, we will.
On ensuring that players are not left with one year left on their contracts:
I do not know [if those days are in the past]Every player is different and what happened in the past, I’m sure the people who were responsible had the right reasons or tried something that worked for the club. We will try to do the same and make sure that the club is always protected, that the club is always in a good position to go forward and that the players are happy to be here.
On the Bodo / Glimt level compared to our opponents this season:
On how to prioritize the Europa League:
It’s a really important competition for us, we know how important it is to be on top of that group. We have strong competition, and our land advantage, so we have to take advantage of it. That’s why tomorrow’s match is really important for us.
On the Budo players who fear him:
There are a few good players and he is a really good coach, and they have a clear identity in their way of playing. You can immediately see what they are trying to do and once again liked them.
On Thomas Partey:
He hasn’t had consistency over the past few months, obviously with the injuries he’s had. He was in and out and he did – such a big performance [against Tottenham]. He contributed to the team in an exceptional way and we are really pleased with his performance.
On Barty’s injury now:
He looks fine. He needs to play regularly and find consistency at that level.
On whether it would be difficult for the Man City physicist to know about Martin Odegaard’s health:
No, I think it’s really common for employees – whether they’re doctors, doctors or fitness coaches – to work with national teams as well. Nowadays football has become very interconnected, we all know each other and someone has worked with someone in some way so information is always available if you want to try to find it.
On whether players who used to play on artificial turf would make any difference as a potential diversion target:
I don’t know, you put it the other way around, the players who used to play on Deso pitches, which is what we use, and then we have to play on artificial ground. It’s a difference and it takes some time to adjust. So I imagine, I don’t know for sure, but it’s a bit similar in reverse.
On what Martin Odegaard told him:
We just talked about what you saw. I would do the same with the staff, and it was really clear. He said exactly the same opinion and said tomorrow it’s going to be a really tough match.
On whether this is a great opportunity for Reiss Nelson:
After his time on loan last year, we wanted him back to see if there were any changes and there was a possibility that we could actually move to the next level. We think the potential is there and we think we saw something special in Reiss. He was part of our academy system and now he will have a chance. He has been out of action for nearly three months due to injury and is now back, in full shape and ready to play. It only needs minutes now.
On whether he could follow a similar path to Smith Roe, who also suffered injuries:
That’s what he has to do and now he needs to show that on the pitch. His attitude and the way he has matured and developed over the past year or so has been really impressive, I think everyone is talking about that and now he needs to do that on the pitch.
On Martin Odegaard’s leadership role on the team:
I think when he talks everyone listens to him, which is a really important trait. True, he probably isn’t the loudest, but he’s someone who leads by example every day and always does the right things.
He is really humble, he tries to help everyone, he puts the team ahead of him and he has a great love and passion for this game, which I really like, and he wants to improve. He wants to lead these boys as quickly as possible and we believe he is the right person to represent the values we have at the club.
On whether the Europa League is an aid or a hindrance:
It’s help. Playing in Europe is always great and I think we will have a great atmosphere tomorrow in the Emirates. We want to produce those nights and we know we want to play yesterday and today, but for now that’s our reality and we have to accept it. It’s part of our next step.
On playing three games in one week:
It’s a test of the team in terms of numbers, the quality you have when you make changes and how well you notice. At the same time, it is about how you are able to consistently play at the highest level and claim it on your own and be successful in doing so.
It’s not something we did last season, and it’s something we have to do this year for various reasons, but I think everyone will have to do it after the World Cup, especially with the schedule we have.
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