Arteta on team news, Liverpool and Nketiah | Press conference | News

Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Wednesday as he previewed our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.

The boss discussed the game, the latest squad news, the January transfer window and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the reaction to the loss at Nottingham Forest…
Obviously we were all extremely disappointed and upset after the game. We analyzed what happened, we discussed it, we talked about it and hopefully learned from it. Then you have to throw it in the trash, take the lesson and move on because the game we have in front of us tomorrow is too important.

on the links with Dusan Vlahovic during the January window …
I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not going to discuss the transfer rumors. I’ve never done it, and obviously we can’t.

if he hopes to be able to add to his team this month …
What I really want this month is for us to have as many fit and healthy players as possible and to do our best and to the maximum with those players. After we have a strategy on how we want to evolve and improve the team, and whenever possible, we will try to do it. We all know this market is extremely difficult.

if he expects to lose players this month …
Again, this part of the strategy for each individual situation is different, there are a lot of factors that go into making this decision, but at the moment everyone here is fully involved.

on Nuno Tavares’ reaction after being replaced at Forest and what he has said to him since …
Let these things happen in football. I’m here to make the right decisions in order to get the best performance from the team. It’s not pleasant to make these decisions it leaves a bad taste but at the same time we are there to help our players and to help our players, you have to do it in different ways and I hope it is a way because that we certainly want to support our players, we want to help them and because we have to make a decision the same day, for my part that gives me more encouragement to help them because I was there. I got replaced after 45 minutes and got upset or made the wrong decisions in my life, but it’s part of a process and a development phase in any career and it’s part of the experiences and some experiences, unfortunately, are not It’s not pleasant but most of them, if you take them the right way, they are the ones that help you to progress and become a better person or a better player. .

on what was his reaction when this happened to him …
Upset and [thought] the coach is wrong, and that is not fair. This is normally the reaction. With Nuno, I didn’t have that reaction at all and that’s it. For me it’s only a moment, so go ahead and focus on all the good things he’s done since he’s been here.

on the latest team news …
It’s extremely volatile and uncertain, I don’t know what the situation we will have today or if it is different from yesterday. Obviously, I can’t go into detail with this. That’s what it is, over the last week we’ve lost so many players for a lot of different reasons and we’re trying to adjust to that. I’m going to use the players we have and make the most of them.

whether it’s injuries or Covid …
There have been different reasons, injuries, Covid, absences with players who must be absent with the Africa Cup of Nations. So different reasons.

on the possibility that this match will be postponed …
You can never guarantee anything because you know things can change drastically in 10 seconds when the doctor comes to the door and gives you the news, and we’ve been through it twice this season already. Our will is always to play.

now play the first leg at home second …
Things have changed because the timing of the game has changed. The first leg is in a different location. It’s completely uncertain and unpredictable, but it’s like that, so I don’t know how it’s going to change. Nobody knows that until we’re on the pitch and start competing to reach that final.

against Liverpool without Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah …
I always have hope when I play and when I compete for any trophy. They have a few missing players, we certainly have a lot too. It’s like that. We’re going to have to go there to try to win the first game because that will put us in a better position for the second.

on Liverpool’s false positive tests …
It is something that is not under our control. The EFL is responsible for checking the status of each player and then deciding whether or not the game is played. The decision was to postpone the game and I’m sure if that was the case then they had the right case to do it.

on the reliability of the tests …
We just hope that each test will be as reliable as possible. This will always be a percentage that could skew the results. First of all, you have to trust the people who do it, that it’s done in the right way and that we have the right material or the best possible material that we have and afterwards, it’s difficult to judge .

on Tavares’ reaction to his substitution against Nottingham Forest …
It’s a really personal thing. This is not what you are up to. It’s something you definitely don’t train for, so I think it gets into the emotional moment and character of this player.

on whether clubs will spend more freely in January now that fans have returned to stadiums ….
I don’t know the financial strength and the position of other clubs. You hear a lot of rumors like you hear about us. Some of them may be possible and others are not even taken into account. I think the clubs are always ready to try to improve. We know that there are now a few clubs in England that have the option to buy players in January, some have already done so. I expect more activity than last year as the clubs are in a better position, but I don’t know how far we’ve come through this pandemic yet.

on whether it is realistic to withdraw a large sum of money without European football…
I do not know. Historically this club has always targeted the best players in the world and the best players in the world are always interested in coming here and I can say that the situation has not changed. Every time I spoke to any player they were so willing to come, I didn’t come across any other situation and this is one of our greatest powers, our ability to get the attention of the people. people coming to join our club is something that is a big advantage for us.

on why Emile Smith Rowe lost his place in our starting XI …
The reason this happened is that he was not in good shape. There was nothing else. His performances, when he was in good shape, were amazing, the way he is evolving, with the importance that he has in the team, I think it is definitely really very positive, but he had a problem that he had and obviously this is has affected his ability to train, his ability to compete, the number of minutes that we can give him and we are trying to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, because we need to the best version of Emile to succeed.

about the changes Smith Rowe has made to his lifestyle …
Yes, but it takes the requirements in all areas, in all aspects to a whole different level. The moment you have more exposure, from a media point of view, from an expectation point of view, you play with the national team, you go with the national team and you score, you score frequently, then the demands , load, stress, everything is higher and you have to face it. People think it’s naturally easy to do and it’s not that easy to do, and then you must start to think I’m going to play 60/70 games, play painlessly, it just doesn’t happen not in elite sport and you have to start living with that.

to find out if he was considering delaying Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ loan move …
We talked about all the possibilities. When you finalize a deal, there are some things that you cannot miss if you want to make that deal. Again I said the player’s interest was so clear after what happened this summer that we thought it was the right thing to do and it took us more than a day or two to try to do it, but you have to get the player in the right frame of mind to compete, knowing that they are going to leave the next day. I don’t think we can make a decision that will have an impact in the next six, 18 months, just for a day or two, I don’t think that makes a lot of sense.

on the future of Eddie Nketiah …
The situation is Eddie is our player and Eddie is going to stay here with us.

on if Eddie could leave this month …
He’s our player and he’s under contract, so he’ll stay with us.

when he finds out if Xhaka is available …
Hopefully today, not tomorrow, let’s hope today.

to know if he is fit enough to play …
This is the argument we have right now. Obviously, after having covid, they experience this disease in a different way. Some of them have symptoms, others are affected, others have difficulty in their first workouts and some of them are doing perfectly well. So as soon as we have the opportunity to fully train Granit with the team, we’ll see where he stands. I don’t know where he will be physically. I know where he is going to be mentally, he will be fully determined to play from the next minute he gets clearance.

on his approach to the game given the upcoming matches …
Well, we know the impact these games are going to have on our season. We knew that before the Forest game and didn’t have a lot of options. We had ten players who couldn’t start this game. It’s half the team, for various reasons. It was a big lesson, we know we didn’t play at a good enough level. We have to move on because these next four games ahead of us are far too important.

on whether he requested the postponement of Forest’s match …
No, we didn’t, it all happened pretty quickly. I can repeat myself: we are ready to play football games, we do not want to keep postponing games. This is how we intend to approach each game, but if something different happens we’ll see.

on whether the semi-finals should take place over a single round …
Well, with the look of our fixture list for the next few years – and this is something we’ve talked about between managers and the Premier League as well – something needs to be done. It was probably not possible to do it this season, as the commitments were already arranged, but it is something that in my opinion needs to be discussed.

on the question of whether the Coupe de la Ligue could disappear completely …
On my side, we haven’t reached those conversations yet.

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