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Mikel Arteta – I blame my team

by Koolkola

In Mikel Arteta’s first home game in charge, Arsenal lost 1-2 to Chelsea. It was a typical London Derby, played at a fast pace and decided by significant moments.

Mikel spoke to the media after the match, and chose to blame his team rather than the referee.

on the result…
I’m really disappointed with the result and the way we conceded the goals, and the timing of them as well. I’m pleased with a lot of things that I’ve seen. I’m pleased with a lot of things we worked on in training that actually happened in the game, and how they bought into this. But I’m disappointed to lose the game obviously. We had to sustain that level for longer periods against a very, very physical team like Chelsea. We have to move on.

on what he would put their goals down to…
I don’t think [it’s a lack of concentration]. We’re 1-0 up, pretty comfortable even if we were defending much deeper than I like. I cannot think about any clear chances for Chelsea before that. The decision-making happens and it will happen again for sure, but when it happens against this type of opposition you get punished.

on whether Jorginho should have been on the pitch to score the equaliser…
I think that’s up to the referee.

on his opinion of the incident…
For me it was very clear. That’s it.

on whether he blames his team or the referee…
I blame my team. We are responsible for everything we did wrong on that football pitch. The decisions we didn’t get right, obviously. The other things we cannot control or change them now.

on lots of yellow cards being handed out…
I prefer not to respond.

on whether we were naive for Chelsea’s winner…
I think we had the structure really well, we had more numbers than the opponent and were completely in control. I think it’s a five against three situation. It’s the structure where we need to control those sorts of situations. Then we just stepped back. They are really good in transitions.

on Bernd Leno’s reaction to conceding the first goal…
He will be down. When an error costs the team points, it’s harder. We have to lift him. He’s done a really good job since he joined this football club and we have to respect that. We just need to bring the confidence back in and that’s it.

on whether we could have pressed more…
More than something related to the organisation, physically it was tough to maintain the level Chelsea play at at the moment. We are asking them to do something different, to play at a different pace, much more aggressive and at the moment they suffered. We had a lot of injuries, we’re putting demands on young players. I don’t think that they didn’t want to do it or that they were scared, I think it was just too physical for them in the end.

on Freddie Ljungberg watching from the directors’ box…
I want him to have a different view from us, and be communicating with the bench all the time. It’s important that he sees things from a different angle at the moment.

on whether we’re going from a top-four battle to a relegation battle…
I don’t know. I have to go day by day and step by step. If we had got the result that we wanted, we’d be talking about something different. I don’t want to make any different predictions.

on Granit Xhaka…
He played at Bournemouth, he played really well, he was very committed, he played a really good game. After the game he started to feel ill. He had a temperature and he wasn’t feeling good. The last two days he’s been in bed. That’s why he’s not been selected.

on whether he wants him to leave…
I hope not.

on Calum Chambers…
The doctors are assessing him. The first feeling he got, it wasn’t very positive.

The Gunners welcome Manchester United to the Emirates on New Year’s Day in another big game.

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