Every word Mikel Arteta said on Arsenal changes, player fitness and Crystal Palace
How do you bottle that feeling of disappointment now for the title race?
I try to give a lot of clarity in the dressing room. It was only one message: accept that it’s too late, we have to learn from it, but there’s no point spending one moment of energy or thought that’s going to take anything out of Sunday because we’re going to have to be at our best again in the Premier League against Palace to beat them. I want everybody recovering mentally and physically to be in the best possible position for the game.
Does it make Palace a more dangerous opponent that they haven’t won yet this year?
Yeah and I think they showed that against Brighton. We have to be again, better than today in many departments, with the same desire and do what we have to do to win the game.
Is it realistic to expect a few changes to the team now?
We will have to see. A lot of players played 120 minutes that we didn’t want to do especially with the minutes that some players have played. We will see who’s available in what condition and put the best team to win the game.
Where does the game on Sunday rank in terms of importance?
Well, the most important one probably because it’s the only game that we have before the break. If we do what we have to do we’ll be in a very strong position.
People say that what happened against Sporting can be a benefit long term?
Yes. I’ve seen a lot of things tonight, especially when we were giving a lot of balls away and suffering, that they did it together. The way we reacted, how we conceded the goal and how the game changed after that showed a lot of positive signs. The downside is that we could not materialise to win it. At the end, it wasn’t enough and it was maybe too late.
Will you take a risk on anyone who is 50/50 with the international break coming up?
A player that is 50/50 cannot play in the Premier League. You have to be 90-100 to play at the level that we need to play in this league. There’s still 48 hours, and hopefully everybody will recover well and we’ll assess them.
Do you feel your squad are in a better position to respond now than in the past?
I don’t know everybody tries to respond in the best possible way. At the end we have to do it on the pitch.
At times last season you struggled but does what you’ve seen give you confidence you can come back?
It gives me confidence because I see the way they reacted, and how much they wanted, the way they played in the last 20 minutes under fatigue. The way they tried, the way they were tracking back, their body language that they had between them. I’m sure they will try their best. But then we have to be better.
What will you do over the next 48 hours to prepare your team?
What we’ve already done in the dressing room. Tomorrow insist on that message, lift them up and make sure they’re in the best possible position.
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