Every word Mikel Arteta said on Arsenal’s progress, injuries, bouncing back and his future

What are your reflections on the evening and how the dressing room is feeling right now?

Well we are devastated. We had so much enthusiasm and desire to be in that final. We know how much it meant to the club, to our fans, to ourselves, to be in that final and have the chance to be in the Champions League next season. It’s a huge blow.

The night started in a difficult way. Losing Granit in the warm up having to change straight away and having to put in another player who hasn’t featured for a long time. I think in the first half we weren’t good enough with the ball and we had a lot of problems to get anything clean into the final third, to dominate the game, to have composure to have a little bit of confidence.

We changed it at half time. We were much better. And then in defining moments we hit the post twice and then missed a chance with an empty goal.

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There’s a lot of talk about your future and Arsenal fans are very disappointed. What would you say to them to suggest this project is one to get behind?

We have to show that on the pitch it’s not about talking. We are hugely disappointed because we wanted to deliver something special to them I guess after the difficult season that we had. But when you play these knockout games, you need your best players at their best to make things happen. We didn’t have enough of them in the best condition. And still like that we fight until the end.

I think today in the second half we deserved to win the game 1-0. I think that it should have happened and it would have been great. But we didn’t do it and there is a reason for that.

Could Lacazette have come on at half time and partner Aubameyang up front?

No. He was only available to play 10 minutes. 15 minutes maximum. We were already taking a risk because he hasn’t trained fully with the team. But he wanted to take that risk and we believed that it was worth taking it. That’s the maximum that he could play.

You’re out of Europe for the first time in 25 years, lower in the league and without a trophy. Would you say that’s progress?

Obviously looking at everything right now it’s going to be focused on that. I understand that and I give it to you that.

The performance was very insipid. You say you had injuries, but Villarreal had injuries too and it didn’t seem to affect them. How do explain that below par first half?

We have to when have the chances we have to put the ball in the net. Again I’m saying we haven’t played our best over the two legs, certainly the first half an hour in Villarreal and the first half today. This is the other motive why we are not through.

Do you accept your job may be under threat now?

I think everybody’s job is always in scrutiny.

Mikel Arteta on the touchline during Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Villarreal in the Europa League semi final second leg at the Emirates (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta on the touchline during Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Villarreal in the Europa League semi final second leg at the Emirates (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Do you have the faith in your own ability to do this job moving forward now?


How much respect do you have for Unai that he came over and shook your hand at full time when everyone else ran onto the pitch to celebrate?

I think he’s always been like that. Not now, but in his career he’s always a manager like that.

How hard was it for Kieran to play for so long like that?

We had no choice. We had Cedric in hospital 24 hours ago. When Granit got injured that’s all that we had.

Is Cedric OK?

Yeah he’s fine now.

The inquest is going to be brutal. Can you understand why there’s going to be so much focus on you and your future?


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Do you think you can pick these players up now?

I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t.

How do you do that?

You will see it. It’s not about talking it’s about showing it on that pitch.

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