Mikel Arteta addressed the media from Arsenal’s London Colney Training Centre on Friday, as the Gunners eagerly await the visit of Wolves on Saturday. Speaking to reporters, the Spaniard offered his thoughts on VAR, Kai Havertz’s confidence and what to expect from Saturday’s fixture.
‘Everything is starting to come together’ for Havertz
Arteta was asked about how Kai Havertz’s confidence has grown in recent weeks, with the German midfielder netting the only goal against Brentford before opening the scoring in midweek against RC Lens.Embed from Getty Images
‘First of all, [we’ll support him] like with any other player, and give him the tools and the time to show his qualities. I think that’s what he’s doing. Everything is starting to come together. A lot of the things he was doing right, he’s continued to do and now obviously in front of goal, he’s being very efficient.’
‘He’s been very positive and he’s been so influential in a good way to his teammates and the team, but obviously his confidence grows. He’s really looking forward to something. When you feel loved, when you feel respected and when you feel admired, things are much easier. Your energy is better, your body language is better and I think that’s the way he’s felt in the last few days.’
Wolves have ‘shown top teams what they are capable of’
The boss was also keen to praise Wolves for their performances thus far this season, insisting that they are ‘a very difficult team to play against.’
‘They have shown against the top teams what they are capable of. Our preparation has been focussed on understanding what we have to do to win the game.’
‘They have a lot of quality. It’s not a coincidence, what they are doing. They perform really well, especially against the top sides. That speaks highly about the quality of the coaching staff – what Gary is doing, the way they prepare and control opponents, especially when they play at home. We’re going to have to try to break them down tomorrow.’Embed from Getty Images
Arteta urged fans to set realistic expectations, insisting that it is very unlikely that the Gunners will hit another team for six while playing three games per week. ‘[The Wolves match] will be different, it won’t be the same, and we cannot expect the same,’ he repeated.
‘This team is going to be different to last season and hopefully very different to next season, and that’s part of the evolution by leaving some things in the past to [make way for] the new things, it’s a transition. We want to still be competitive and win matches and I think the team is competing really well.’
‘I think we can improve’ VAR amidst constant controversy
‘I have sympathy with all my colleagues because I know how beautiful but at the same time how challenging our job is,’ explained Arteta after being pressed for his thoughts on Gary O’Neil’s comments about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League.
‘The exposure that we have and those moments in front of the cameras are not easy ones, and you see that in many, many situations this season, and last season, and we are here to make the game better, and our clubs better, and we all need to win to do that.’
‘[VAR] is a topic that comes up [when talking to other coaches], for sure. We talk about many things but that’s one of those for sure. At the end, it has a huge impact on the result and our job depends on that.’Embed from Getty Images
But despite the controversy that the technology can cause, Arteta insists that there is still plenty of room for improvement and rejects calls for it to be thrown to the side. ‘I think we can improve and we are trying to. All the things that are happening are probably necessary to improve it and we have to take it that way,’ said the Spaniard.
‘It’s been a big change, technology is taking a huge responsibility in games and it needs time. If we use it the right way and are listening to people, we are open and we are humble and we are trying to be constructive, I think we will get to a really really good place.’