Following the win at St James’ Park, Mikel Arteta expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance. He stated that they had “put things right” after last season’s costly defeat.
During the post-match press conference, Arteta praised his players for using the pain of last year’s loss as motivation for their success this time around.
The boss expressed his pride at the team’s display, highlighting their focus and Martin Odegaard’s contribution.
Looking ahead to the upcoming match against Brighton, Arteta spoke confidently about his team’s ability to maintain their winning form.
A full transcript of the press conference is available below:
on the team making a statement today:
“I think the word to describe it is pride. When you have question marks, you have to resolve them straight away. When you had the emotions that we had last year in that dressing room, you have to make sure that you feel them again. To realise how difficult, how nasty and how unpleasant they are, and then you have to find a way to approach the game in a different way, because the manner is going to be higher than last year. The boys did that extremely well so I’m really proud of them.”
on talking about last year’s result before the game:
“We have to feel it, I think it wasn’t enough just talking about it. We have to feel it, we have to see it, we have to recognise our phases. Not only the players, but what it meant for the staff as well, and that’s football. You can win or lose but that feeling is beyond something and that we didn’t do enough in the day, and we had to put that right today.”
on how the players responded to being shown clips of the result from last season:
“Well, I’m looking at the video so, I didn’t see those faces, but you don’t have to be a genius to understand how painful it was. The word was pain and then desire for revenge, and they had that in their bellies for sure.”
on how happy he was with the way we controlled the game:
“Really good, that was going to be a key thing. It was not only about playing or dominating certain phases. It’s about game management against a strong team. They were huge in the way they played and managed the game, and we had to do that even better than them, and I’m really happy with how we did it.”
on where today’s performance ranks this season:
“Today feels the best because the last one and the one before has gone. But we have won at difficult grounds this season – we’ve done it really consistently, but like you said in different ways. In this game, they managed something different compared to Stamford Bridge or playing against Spurs, but we did what the game demanded, and that was really smart from us.”
on how pleased he was with the way the team responded after VAR overturned the penalty decision:
“Yeah for sure, it was very early in the game. They started the game really brightly and that could have changed the course of the game, I don’t know. Minutes later we scored the goal and obviously that gave us composure, some calm and some ability as well to control the game and make them play the way they want to play very far from what they could do and obviously that helped.”
on the difference between this performance and last season at St James’ Park:
“It was very different that’s for sure yes, it was needed. If not, you do not win here. They are a better team, they are very well coached, the atmosphere they created is incredible, so you know we needed a much better performance than any game we have played this season. I said to the players that to win today, you’re all going to have to individually put in the best performance of the season if not, you’re not going to win here.”
on showing our fight in the title race:
“We are there, we want to keep digging. The prize is there, not too far and the only thing we can do is keep insisting and don’t turn our backs and lose focus on something else. Be determined every single day, let’s keep going and see what happens.”
on Martin Odegaard’s big performance:
“The leadership he is showing and the levels of consistency which is what you demand from those leaders. It’s not moments, it’s every single day. Home and away, he’s had some huge performances, he’s really helping the team, he’s growing in the right direction. We are all very happy to have him.”
on whether we were guilty of timewasting today:
“For sure our team is not like that. I don’t even want to get close to that conversation with the game we played today.”
on proving that the team will fight right until the very end:
“It proves that we’ve done it today, now we have to prove that we are able to do it against Brighton. It’s going to be a completely different game, really demanding, and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them again. We’ve done it for 10 and a half months I think, we have to keep doing it, we are there. It feels very different to 10 days ago, we have to make sure that the momentum is there.”
on whether we matched the approach from Newcastle in our previous meeting this season:
“We’ve done what we had to do to win the game and I’m very happy with that.”