Every word Mikel Arteta said on Arsenal win vs Tottenham, Kai Havertz form and David Raya error

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken to the press after his side’s 3-2 win over Tottenham in the North London Derby, including his view on Kai Havertz’s display and David Raya’s big error

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, applauds the fans after the team's victory during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 28, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

I was praying. There were so many Spurs players in the box. It was a really emotional game. A very tough place to come, an incredible atmosphere and a great team to play against. 3-0 up you’re in control of the game, you come in the second half and we’re dominating the game and creating chances, then an individual error happens that clicks something. It puts a wrong message in your brain.

Then we started to deal with the situation better, but they got another one and then it’s game on. Then they have the players and the courage to put a lot of players forward. We had to dig in and suffer and react. I’m very pleased with the way the team has done it.

What your thoughts on Raya’s error?

It’s part of football. I don’t like the sequence of play, I don’t like the principles that we apply in that moment and the orientation of the ball. After that it can happen. You misjudge the situation, you try to make the pass and you don’t and then you are in the doubt zone and they scored and took advantage of that. Then with the penalty it’s another principle which you cannot do.

It’s part of football. What I love is that David does that, he picks his hands up, which are quite heavy, and he was sensational for the last 20 or 25 minutes of the game. This is what I love about our players.

Arsene Wenger gave you advice saying that you have to find a way to win. Did we see that at the end there?

Yeah. Maybe he could have given me the advice of trying to not to make it hard for yourself. But at the end you can’t just pretend to come here, not suffer and play Spurs off the park. It doesn’t happen. You just have to look at their performances against the other top teams to prove that because they’re a really good side.

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Was it the plan to sit that deep in the first half or did they force you?

No, they forced us. We had an issue with the high press. We gave so many balls away, simple balls, our ball circulation wasn’t good enough. The result also has an impact. When you’re 2-0 up you feel more comfortable doing that. We looked a real threat as well on the counter. They commit so many players so their structure forces you as well to have one or two more players in certain areas that provokes you to be a little bit deeper. We didn’t really concede much there, but the second half, I think especially with the ball in certain situations was much better.

Is it better psychologically to win 3-0 or hold on like that?

I don’t know. We’re gonna make it that the second option is a great one. The players can be more convinced. We’ve done it two years in a row here, which is extremely difficult. Last year as well we had to suffer in the second half to win the game. So great. The team has another tool. Something else to grab which is the confidence that when it comes to the biggest stage in the big games you have the ability to win it. So it’s good learning.

Is Havertz finding new parts to his game?

He was sensational in every department today. He wasn’t at 100%. He was ill before the match, he was a bit struggling and still he put the performance that he put in. I thought he was unbelievable today.

What is it about your team that enabled them to come back from that poor run in April?

First of all, how much you want it and how much they want it. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. It’s part of the journey. When you’re at the highest level you’re going to have disappointments. At this level the margins are so small and they’re not always going to go for you. Then it’s about how you react to that. Face the challenge, face the opportunity. I think this team has a lot of courage and determination to make it happen.

You have so much faith in the players it seems?

Yeah definitely. In the last few minutes I was doubting it a bit. But they give me no reason [to doubt]. I told you before they were going to be ready on Sunday. Emotionally it’s been a very demanding month, but yesterday I had to stop them in training because they wanted more. That’s a good sign.

Do you think you’ve proved you can handle this stage of the season better than last year?

I think so. When you win it’s always the case. Last season we didn’t, because we want to West Ham and we missed a penalty, and against Liverpool we conceded in the 91st minute and then you’re not capable. At the end the judgement is going to be based on that outcome. If they got the goal in the last minute to make it 3-3 then we wouldn’t have been ready. The margins are so small.

Don’t get carried away with yourself. We want to be better. There are margins for improvement. Go again against Bournemouth because it’s going to be really tough.

Do you see that the players are going to fight till the very end?

Yeah 100%. I’ve seen that the whole season. They give me the reason to believe that every single day. We are right on it. The motivation for what is ahead is beautiful. We are all expecting that they’re going to have a real go

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