Every word Mikel Arteta said on Saka’s England chances, Aubameyang’s mood and Olympiacos lessons


IsBukayoSaka going to be alright for England and are there any concerns about the added work load England might bring given the amount he’s played?

Well, I don’t know because there are two games to play for us. If he participates for us in those two games there is always a risk. So I don’t know. Ask me that question after the game against West Ham.

Looking back on last year when you went out to Olympiacos, what do you take from that and what are the thing you feel you need to avoid?

We went out because the tie was open and then we had to manage the game in the last few minutes. We conceded two set pieces on that day and we missed some big chances. When you do that at the end these ties are defined in both boxes and we didn’t define the tie when we had the opportunity. So we know that going into tomorrow we’re going to have to do that better.

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You said after the game against Spurs on Sunday about how badly the team managed the last ten minutes. It’s a similar situation in terms of having the lead tomorrow so what do they need to do differently to manage the game and to control it?

Everything different than what we did on Sunday against ten men. Stop giving simple balls away, stop putting ourselves in trouble and give a clear direction of where we want to have the ball in those minutes. Play simple and be sure that we can win and manage the situation much better than we did.

Is that a mentality or composure thing?

Sometimes it happens. Sometimes you see that one or two actions leads to give momentum to the opponents. You get a little bit more tense and you start to have the fear of losing something.

It’s much better energy to have the energy to win what you already have and not just think about maintaining what you already have and not losing because you start to play much more restricted and lose the flow of the game and your confidence. It’s something that we cannot do.

Given the World Cup is in just over a year and a half, do you think three games in six days is a bit much?

I think it’s a bit too much in general in a normal year. I think this year it becomes something really dangerous with the amount of minutes that these boys have played in such a short time with no preparation I don’t think it’s right. But we’re not going to change it. The decision has been made, the games are going to be played. So it’s just about how we protect our players the best possible way.

Do you trust the federations to look after all your players?

I always want to trust them. We will communicate with them, we will tell them the state of our players and try to maintain an open discussion to try to manage the load the best possible way and not change too much the things that they are used to doing.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during Arsenal training on Tuesday (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

How did Pierre react to your conversation and are you pleased with where things are moving forward?

Really positively. That’s why I said that this is over. We move forward in a positive way and there is no more comments to make on that.

Has he put it behind him?

He trained really well the last two days. He was smiling as usual as we all expect from Auba. It’s all good

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Are any of your players not going to be travelling because of coronavirus restrictions over the international break?

The ones that are going to be in red zone countries obviously they won’t be able to play those games or those fixtures. The rest we have to allow them to go if they are fit. We will stick to all the protocols and the guidance that we have to try to allow our players to go when they are safe.

How many players are there in those red zone countries?

We have a few that some might be able to play some games, another the next game. It’s a lot to figure out. The doc is in constant communication with the Premier League, constant communication with the federations but it’s not too simple.





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