Ahead of the FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester City on Friday, Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference and answered questions from the assembled journalists.
He spoke on a range of topics including the recent arrivals of Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior, Eddie Nketiah's form and his thoughts on his friend and former boss Pep Guardiola.
Here's all he had to say:
on how strong the team he's looking for on the pitch is:
There is no more news in the team, mainly without injuries. Obviously, we have two more recruits that we've made in this window. It's a big game and a big test for us against, in my opinion, the best football team in the world. I'm looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are.
on how quickly Leandro Trossard made an impact on Man Utd's game:
That's what I like. I see a player who is willing to make things happen and he is especially composed in the last third and that's something we needed to add to the team. He immediately made a beautiful impact on the team to help us win.
on whether Jakub Kiwior's versatility means we don't need more signings this window:
He gives us more cover. We had three central defenders in the first part of the season, which is very short, and we were lucky with injuries. We needed to recruit for this position and we got it: Jakub plays different roles and is a versatile player, and will strengthen the team. If there's anything else available that could improve us, we'll look into it.
on whether his relationship with Pep Guardiola has changed now that they're fighting for the title:
I always hoped [a title challenge] would happen one day, and it's happening this season, but it's not going to change any friendships or the moments that we have, how important it is in my life or how important it is. . in my job. We're both willing to win and defend our clubs as best we can, and that's always been the case from day one.
on whether Martin Odegaard has given any advice on dealing with Erling Haaland:
No, I think it's two players in top form right now. I think [City] have, and so do we, a lot of players who are in a great place and are very important in their teams.
on whether Eddie Nketiah can maintain his current form:
That's the challenge we all have, not just Eddie, not to be at that level, but at a better level every day. Eddie has been very consistent and I think he surprised some people with the way he responded to the big challenge and demands that he had after Gabriel [Jesus] was injured. We are sure that he can improve a lot, evolve and continue to develop.
on whether too much attention has been paid to his passion for the sideline:
I don't know. I focus on the things I can do better. Of course there are things I can do better and let the referees take control of the game and deal with it. Sometimes I need to look in the mirror and try to find the right balance. I love the game, I'm very passionate about it and I love winning more than anything else and that's how I live the game. But then again, if there's something you can do better, you can at least try.
on whether there will be a psychological advantage for the winner for the rest of the season:
I think there will be two very different games, and putting similarities between them is very unrealistic. Perhaps because of the players on the field, but also the context is very different. Let's see, obviously it's important to win and play well. It gives you more motivation, more confidence and better preparation for the next game, and that's our approach to doing that on Friday.
on what was done to develop a winning mindset:
I think the key word would be to believe, not just our belief, but also the team to believe, the players to believe and the atmosphere we create with our people in the stadium. You could feel that even when we were down 1-0 [against Man Utd] we could still win. We handle the emotion of the game in a much better way than before. We are playing better than before and earning the right to win games, and football, as we all know, is very unpredictable.
on whether the club is more united now than at any time since he's been here:
I don't want to compare how it was in the past, but I would say that I am extremely proud and privileged to be with the football club right now. I think we are all feeling the energy and empowerment of everyone who is helping the club to be where it belongs.
on or impact of Oleksandr Zinchenko:
He is a player who gives us everything we want in that position and gives us versatility. It also draws a lot of attention and takes up a lot of space, and that's really important to us. I would especially highlight his mentality; what he brought is a real will to win and do something special with this team, and the experiences he had in the past help us a lot to achieve that.
on whether the three games against City will define our season:
It would be because on Friday if we manage to win we will go to the next phase and they won't, and if they beat us it will be the opposite. Obviously it's a very important competition for us and closely linked to our club and our history, and that would define it as a safe moment.
on whether he's competing with City earlier than planned:
I don't know, but this league brings incredible challenges. You have the best coaches in the world, and the best coach in the world, and to be at that level you have to find other things to try and compete with them and that's where the opportunities also arise. We are on this path, but we understand that we haven't done anything yet and there is still a lot to improve.
on whether Mohamed Elneny will be fit:
I don't think it is. He's had some problems with his knee that we're evaluating at the moment and we'll have to see how he evolves in the next few days.
on whether it could be a long-term injury:
There are some concerns, especially as Mo never complains about anything, but we'll see.
on whether we have enough in midfield following Kiwior's arrival:
Ideally, we need a bit more coverage in midfield if we can get it, but in this market it's very difficult to do that. As I always say, the most important thing is to get the performance and time on the field that we need with the players we have available today and who are already very good.
on whether he feels more special pitting his wits against a close friend:
I'd rather do it against someone else to be fair because I want what's best for them. When you're challenging someone like that, something gets in the way, so it's a weird feeling. It is what it is, and that is our challenge.
on how Guardiola reacted when we signed Jesus and Zinchenko:
It was done in a very friendly way between the clubs, and especially between us [he and Guardiola] because you have to do it with respect. It was all agreed upon by all, as you've read and heard many times, so it was a three-part decision, otherwise you wouldn't be here.
on whether the situation at his former club Everton makes him sad:
He does this because it is a club that I love so much that I am very grateful and united. I just hope they can get to where they deserve to be, and that they can move things along quickly and get everyone back on board and out of this situation.
on Gabriel Jesús suggesting he could be back in four or five weeks:
I don't know with him, he wants to be there next week! Obviously, that's totally unrealistic, but he's pushing everyone [on the medical team] to the limit. I cannot give you an answer; I hope it's weeks and not months, but it was a serious injury and we have to respect that process as well.
on the impact of Jesus behind the scenes:
He's been incredible with the guys, the team and everyone at the club. His energy and how positive he is with the boys: he always advises them and is always there for them. He's been great.
for having 50 points in 19 games:
What we are doing gives us enthusiasm and hope to dream, but we know that the reality is that half a season is left to play, and in the Premier League it is a hellish story and there are many chapters to come. written. We have to keep looking day by day at what we are doing.
On being the favorite for the title:
We can't control that, but what I would say is, when you look at what's happened over the last few seasons, it wouldn't make a lot of sense, but that's ok, we accept it.
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