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Arteta on Norwich, Ozil, Auba: transcript : Gunners

(Part 1)

Mikel Arteta was back on a Zoom call with the media on Tuesday as he looked ahead to our clash against Norwich.

Our head coach discussed returning to Emirates Stadium, Matteo Guendouzi, Mesut Ozil, William Saliba and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

**on the mood and confidence in the group…**After winning it’s always much more positive and happier, obviously. We had a really difficult start in terms of the fixtures – playing four games away from home – so it was always going to be a challenge. We’re happy to win the last ones and the mood around the camp is much better.

**on how the players are dealing with the physical challenges posed by the regularity of games…**The calendar that we have been given from the Premier League is pretty hectic. We’re playing every three days, we’re having less recovery than other teams but the players are trying their best and we’re trying to give them everything we can – in terms of recovery – to have them in the best possible conditions for every game. They are trying their best, so hopefully they will be fine tomorrow again.

**on being at the Emirates for our first home game since March…**Well, we really want to play at home. That’s where we enjoy more, but obviously not having the fans within is a tremendous disadvantage. We want to give them happy moments and enjoyment and at the moment we cannot do that just by seeing them as they have been watching on TV. But it’s what we have at the moment.

**on if this game is a must-win game to catch up to the top five teams…**I think every game is going to be a must-win game from now, because we have a few teams ahead of us. So the margin for error is minimal and as well, at home, we have to be very strong if we want any chance of finishing in the European places.

**on David Luiz’s injury and how serious it is…**We don’t know. He was in pain the other day when he had to leave the pitch. He’s not a player that normally does that, so he was uncomfortable. We assessed him yesterday and he was a bit better, but we don’t know. He had a scan this morning as well to see how bad it is and he’s very willing. He wants to play but he’s always like that. We will have to see how he is.

**on Kieran Tierney’s performances and his supermarket carrier bag…**He’s been one of the positive things since I joined. Just to get to know him a little bit and his character and the way he trains and the way he pushes himself, it’s exactly what we need. He’s the kind of player that I love and I am really, really happy with him. He’s had some really tough moments since he joined the club but now he’s much happier and he’s settled. But about the Tesco bag… that’s Kieran! He’s a very humble and normal guy. He does what he feels is right.

**on whether Guendouzi and Ozil still have a part to play in the remaining games…**I said that everybody that I have in the squad, my job is to get the maximum out of them and to try to help them and support them. And if they are willing, everybody is welcome.

**on whether they are both willing…**I always hope that the players want to give their best.

**on whether Saliba will begin training here or if he will stay for the cup final with Saint-Etienne…**I think he needs to stay there. We’ve got an agreement with Saint-Etienne and he’s been over there all year. He has earned his right to play that final if their manager wants to do that. So I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that and we can have him after that.

**on what he expects from Norwich…**A team that is fighting for relegation always has an extra edge. They know the difference between playing in the Championship and the Premier League, and they fought really hard to be where they are. I’m expecting a fully committed team and they are really brave with the way they play. They cause you problems and I’m expecting again a very honest team that is going to fight for their lives to try to give them a better chance to stay in the league.

**on whether Norwich’s positive performance against United…**I will show them (the players) what they are able to do when you give them time to play and it’s a very tricky team with the way they play. I will make sure that we recover first and we’re ready tomorrow to go again.

**on whether he’s done anything to prepare his players for being back at the Emirates…**Well, we had two friendlies before we started the Premier League at home and it was a really strange feeling, but hopefully they’re used to it now and we know what we expect with all the protocols that we could to make sure that the players know exactly what they have to do, and hopefully they can enjoy tomorrow again playing in our stadium.

**on whether we need some luck with our injuries…**We just try to make the most out of it. It’s been a great learning process for myself and the staff about the situation and the context that we are in. A lot of unexpected things have happened since I joined. We tried to resolve the situations in the best possible way to help the players and the club to keep going in the right direction, and that’s it. Some things we can’t control and the ones we can control, we just try to make as many good decisions as possible.

**on Guardiola’s praise of his time at Arsenal so far…**We have spoken a few times in recent weeks and about facing them again in the semi-final, it’s a tricky one, but look at the level of the teams who are involved in the competition. If you want to win a title then you have to face the best teams, and if we want to do that then we’re going to have to beat City.

**on whether he’s sought advice from Guardiola…**He’s a person that I have huge respect and admiration for and we talk about a lot of things. When I want advice, to listen to him or support, he’s always there and he’s always willing to help me. It’s great to have someone like him around.

**on on Aubameyang’s contract situation…**I don’t have any updates, sorry.

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