Every word Mikel Arteta said on Kai Havertz, Arsenal win over Chelsea, title race and midfield

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken to the press after his Arsenal side’s 5-0 victory over Chelsea, including his views on Kai Havertz, the title race and a stunning display from his midfield

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, applauds the fans after the team's victory in the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on April 23, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

How pleased were you with your side’s performance?

Yes, a big performance. I thought collectively and individually we were really good against a really good team that was in great form and that was going to ask us a lot of great questions. I think we responded really well. From the first half we were really flowing and playing with a lot of courage and making things happen. Really happy today with the result, it’s a great day for our supporters as well. So really happy with that..

How long have you been waiting to use that midfield trio?

Yes we have the squad available apart from Jurrien, who is hopefully going to be very soon back with all of us and we have to utilise the players and the quality that we have. We thought it was a really good game for Thomas to come back. He looks like he’s in rhythm, he trained really well in the past few days. With the players they have we thought it was the right call to make. He stepped up. He had a great performance. He was really important for the team.

Those three seem to compliment each other really well. What is it that you like about them?

Everything. Also when you play Declan, Kai and Martin and when you play Emile in there and when you play Jorgi as well for sure because we’ve won some big games with him in there. Depends on the game, on the state, on the opponent as well. It’s great because everyone feels really important as well. I think that’s something really important there.

How much of a psychological boost is a win like this at this point in the season?

Great for us obviously and for the confidence and the belief that we can do it as well. That we can come to these stages against big teams and perform and win games the way we’ve done it tonight. Enjoy it and then it’s back to work tomorrow because we have a big one on Sunday and we’re going to have to prepare really well to beat them.

Do you have sympathy for Pochettino?

All the sympathy in the world. With everything that he’s been through and everything that he’s been doing. He knows that. I’ve been on the other side as well. He’s doing a great job, I think when you look at this team and analyse every second of them, they deserve to win many matches, they deserve to win against big teams. He’s doing a really good job so hopefully things will turn around and be as he deserves.

Does that effect the pleasure you take from tonight?

No. I love winning. He would try to do the same. When you talk about sympathy and someone I love and admire, for sure, I want the best for him.

On the midfield again. Are you cursed in your luck for not being able to field them more often this season?

I don’t know, but then we would have won every game. But look at the run we are in and the points we have already. We have missed Thomas since August, and he’s a big player for us, but that has given chances to other players. For Declan to play as a No.6 and then rediscover him as a No.8. Playing Kai as a No.9 too, and the contribution of Jorgi has been absolutely phenomenal as well. The team has resources and has to find different ways of winning, acting and interchanging their qualities. I’m really happy.

A lot of talk about the team tiring in second halves of late. Was today proof that winning is the best thing when it comes to fatigue?

That’s for sure. For the energy and the spirit of the team. In the second half we kept growing physically. What these boys have done in the last 10 days is unbelievable physically. When you look at some of the numbers, it’s unreal but they can do it and they can improve themselves because they want to. They have the mentality this they really want to win it.

They could have been deflated after the Champions League exit but it’s been the opposite. Did you do anything or were they just ready?

Just face the reality, that’s it. The margins are so small and somethings you cannot be better than your opponent. You might not have the luck when you need it in certain moments but you need to react and face the moment. That moment is beautiful. We’ve been working for it for nine months, so we have to face it in the right way. Value what we have, and especially believe. If you are able to believe for nine months, you are able to win it. But you have to belief it first and consistently do what you have been doing. Nothing else.

It be sweet for Kai Havertz to score against his old club…

He was unbelievable in all departments. For a No.9 to score two goals the way he did, his contribution was great. I’m sure he’s very, very pleased.

The crowd was jumping at the end. Is that translating to the players?

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