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Arteta happy with ‘strong’ performance

by Koolkola

After the FA cup defeat at St. Mary’s, we returned there to play the Saints, but this time in it was the premier league.

Mikel Arteta was impressed with the intelligence that the lads showed as we won the game 3-1, courtesy of goals from Pepe, Saka, and Lacazette.

The boss was particularly impressed with Nico Pepe, who got the equalizer and remained a constant menace throughout the night.

After the game, the boss faced the BT Sport cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On the performance…

We were really good right from the start, created chances straight away, Laca went one-on-one with the keeper. We conceded from a corner and we reacted straight away. We were really good on the ball; we improved a lot the build-up phase in our own half against their press, so we got out of trouble and created some big chances. Our pressing was excellent and when we had to defend deeper and manage the game a little bit after going 3-1, we did that as well. We were good on the break. It really was a strong performance.

On Pepe’s performance…

He was really good again. I think he created again some big moments, he scored a goal, he was involved in many good actions, he worked really hard. He deserved his chance today and he took it.

On Saka’s improvement…

Yes, it is [easy to forget he’s 19]. He’s been very consistent through the season. We played him in different positions and he’s adapting really well. He seems really comfortable on the right. His link-up play is excellent, his finishing is good, he’s assisting players. He had a really strong performance again today.

On enjoying the third goal…

It’s really tough to win here. They are a really good side. They are in great form and teams really struggle against them. The way we managed the game and understood what the game required in each moment showed a lot of intelligence from the team.

On going six games unbeaten…

We have a lot to do still, a lot to recover, a lot of things to improve still. We need to be humble and train good and then prepare for the next game because we haven’t done anything.

On Smith Rowe’s injury…

Well, it’s one of the reasons we had to make changes in the [FA] Cup. We had five players who were not available to play [on Saturday], I want to make that clear. The ones who played today, they were there to play some part of the game. We expect them to play 50 games a season, every game at that age, without a pre-season? It’s impossible and I’m not going to do that with the young players

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