Every word Mikel Arteta said on Ramsdale vs Leno, Tomiyasu's debut and reception from fans

By Kaya Kaynak

What did you make of the game and how much of a relief was that?

Yeah emotionally a very tough game to play. After the three defeats to play in front of your crowd it was a must win game. I saw a team that was straight out of the blocks really quickly, really aggressive, wanting to score, wanting to please everybody. We had a period after 20, 25 minutes where we started to be a little bit shaky, didn’t manage the game well enough, start to try to attack too quickly, gave the ball away and then it was an open game. Second half we took control of the game again and I think we should score many, many more.

Can you give us an insight into how the past few weeks have been for you?

I must say that it’s probably been the best 10 or 15 days I had since I’ve been in football. I’m not saying they’ve been the easiest, but probably the best. Because you have to find a purpose why you do what you do and why you made the decision to be a football player or a coach. It all made sense and glided together in the last week or so.

It’s about the relationship that we have built, it’s about the level of trust that everybody in the club has, it’s the connection and emotionally how players react, how everybody in the team, and I’m talking about any department in the club, supports, supports follows and tries to improve and tries to be positive around the situation. We have to win football matches but for me it was an absolute joy to watch how everybody was behaving around the context that we had.

How pleased are you by the reaction from fans when the team came out?

So, what I’m describing is probably what you guys don’t see, what is happening internally. I doubts and I had question marks because obviously I had to read, I had to understand and I had to reflect a bit on different opinions and criticism. I don’t know how much they’re going to be effected. Basically, the club has been extremely open to send a message across of what we’re trying to do.

I had question marks I had to be honest, but I just saw an incredible fans trying to inspire a team trying to tell them we are ready to suffer with you and we are going to support you. The rest it doesn’t matter.

I’m extremely grateful and I got pretty emotional to see that because I think it’s pretty difficult to see in football and people maybe are expecting something or they want to go in other routes and they want to transmit hate or whatever and it wasn’t like that. Thankyou so much.

Some fans were singing ‘we are staying up’ at the end. Do you think that’s funny?

I didn’t hear that, but if it was done in a funny way we have to accept it.

Do you feel like you’re starting to see your vision of the team come together now?

I started to see signs many months before. Obviously today you saw a different team, with different names, with different qualities. Just different. We want to change things, we want to evolve things and we know what we want to get. Today was just another step.

You chose Aaron Ramsdale in goal. Can you speak about his performance and is he your number one?

I think he was terrific. Not only what he did in the technical side but it’s what he transmits, it’s his energy. His chemistry with the backline, how he reacts, I think it was top. We have two fantastic goalkeepers. Never forget what Bernd has done for us and what a good goalkeeper he is. I had to make decisions today and I thought that Aaron was the right one to do. Like in any other position we had to decide and that is what was decided today.

Do you plan to rotate, or is Ramsdale your number one?

I want to see how they perform. Now we need performances and we need to win football matches. Whoever gives the better performance, whoever transmits more confidence and whoever is reliable is going to play.

What did you think of Tomiyasu and why did you take him off after 60 minutes? Was it pre-planned or was there an injury?

Really positive. That’s the first impression when we met him, it’s all joy happiness, smiles and good energy. The moment he steps on the pitch, he’s really focused and determined. He understands the role really well and I think he was really good. He was cramping, he only trained a day and half with us. He had to travel and emotionally it was first game as well so we had to take him off.

You mentioned about emotions. Did you have any tears in your eyes at the end of the game?

No I didn’t. I was so pleased that we won the game and that’s it. I think everybody was probably inside themselves.

The chants of we are staying up went around the stadium. The club has higher aims than that surely?

We have to aim to be the best and with the best in this country and be the best that we have been when we have been one of the best teams in terms of performances and trophies that we have ever managed to do. That’s the only aim.

Many were expecting Thomas Partey to start today but you went with Sambi Lokonga instead. How do you think he played today and can he improve into an even better player?

Thomas wasn’t fit enough to play the 90 minutes so we didn’t want to take another risk with him. Sambi as well he came in from Belgium with a tight hamstring and he only trained half a day. We didn’t have options because the rest of the players were injured or suspended in midfield and Emile wasn’t available to play as well.

So he made a big effort to stay here and that’s one of the reasons why I tell you how much these boys want to do it. No one is hiding. In difficult moments they just want to put their bodies on the line. These two are a good example.


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