Every word Mikel Arteta said on Jurrien Timber, Gabriel Jesus Arsenal transfer, Jorginho contract

Mikel Arteta has spoken to the press ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth, including updates on Jurrien Timber’s fitness, Gabriel Jesus’ future and Jorginho’s contract

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta

Do you prefer to be first before Man City?

It’s what it is. We’ve done it in many different scenarios this season. We’re clear. We have to win our game and then we have to wait and the only thing that we can focus on is that.

How much would you like to keep Jorginho?

I would love to keep him. He knows that. The club is fully supportive of that. He’s a really important player with us, on and off the field. He makes us better so we want him to stay.

Can you tell us about your success from set pieces?

It’s an accumulation of a lot of things. We work a lot of phases of play and things that in our opinion can help us to be more competitive and win certain matches. Set pieces are something fundamental in football.

How good has Rice been?

He’s been great, he’s had such an impact from day one. It’s not easy when you come from a club where you’ve been for a long time but he settled really good. It’s a great group. I think they’ve been really supportive with him as well. There are players that come in and glide straight away. I remember a conversation I had with him in the US in pre-season after eight or nine days he said he felt like he’s been here for two years. That’s a good sign.

Will you watch City vs Wolves?

If I can I will watch them. I love watching great games and obviously there’s a lot at stake. Let’s do what we have to do first.

What do you make of the job Iraola has done?

A fantastic job. To come in to the Premier League and do what he’s done. Huge credit to him and the coaching staff. They deserve huge credit for what they’ve done and for the manner of what they’ve done, which, in my opinion, is really important as well. Yeah congratulate them because it’s a fantastic achievement.

What are your memories of last season’s 3-2 game with Bournemouth?

I have great memories because it ended in a really beautiful way and it was one of the highlights of the season. So we know we’re going to have to earn it again. It’s going to be a really tough match so we have to be ready.

How important is the never say die attitude at this stage?

Well at any stage, but obviously with what’s to play for if we win we know that you’re going to have to win games in different ways. That can be one. Hopefully tomorrow it’s not that, but if it has to be we welcome it.

How much are the players enjoying the title run in?

The energy is really good. We just had a training session and the players are really at it and enthusiastic so we’re going to give it a real go.

You became the youngest manager to get 100 PL wins. How happy are you with the progress you’ve made?

That’s contribution from a lot of people who have been extremely supportive in this journey and help you to win games. Gratitude towards that and hopefully this can bring trophies because that’s what we want.

Saka said he felt the side had learnt lessons from last year?

Some of them are noticeable but some others are related to what’s happening in games that are different. Last year at Spurs we had a very different game, but we managed the situation quite well. There’s always room for improvement, but I think the team is more mature. The health of the squad is in a much better position now. All these factors contribute to being in a better position.

Declan excitement felt in first conversations? How coachable has he been?

Yes that is the right word. He was really enthusiastic, eyes open, ears open, very willing to learn to take information. And on top of that he needs to have absorbed an enormous amount of responsibility and expectations and that is a different bag sometimes to carry. He has done it in a really composed and calm way and that is really impressive as he is a really young player.

Before he came to Arsenal, people mentioned his goal record. How much more is there to come?

I think there is much more there. We have to put him in more situations for him to explore that taken he has, he has to recognise the situations earlier as well, he needs to build that relationship and chemistry he has within that unity he is playing with, something which is still quite raw, and especially with the number of changes we have made on the left-side this season. So all this is going to contribute to his development and hopefully we can see much more.

I know you don’t do Ifs but if Partey and Timber had played this season how many more points would you have?

Do you have a coin? Ping! I have no clue! We have missed them as when you have them around the team is more competitive, more quality and more leadership. That is for sure. The players who played in their position have been exceptional. Let’s see now and your question in three or six months times when they have hopefully played a lot of games, I can be more concrete.

If you win, it’s a Premier League record for Arsenal wins. Time to seize the moment?

Absolutely. Just focus and put all your energy and focus in finding that determination and that willingness to earn the right to win games. The first one is Bournemouth at home and there will be an unbelievable atmosphere. Be present and be in the moment. And let’s see what happens

Did you speak to Iraola when results bad in first 10 games in autumn and how has the team changed so much?

Yes and especially after our game. They had a really difficult set of fixtures and that was a huge factor but you could see that the team was close to getting results and causing problems for opponents. Credit to him he stood for his beliefs. He is a really good coach, a great person and I have known him since we were very little.

Did you guys speak?

We spoke after the game, especially after our game. When you are in those periods you don’t want to speak to anyone. But we had a little conversation there and also about my experiences and what I went through and sometimes it helps

Treat tomorrow as importantly as the London derbies?

That was the first thing we did was to try to read where the spirit and energy was. They were talking about it already. Bournemouth is even more important now we have momentum, we have to keep going, and they [the players] know what is at stake.

Happy if tomorrow is a boring win rather than a 3-2 drama?

I have a different game in my head for tomorrow. But, yeah, we are going to have to perform really well and be at our best and if we do that we have a really good chance of winning the game.

Timber return to boost the squad?

It does because it increases the quality of the training sessions. You see how commanding he is, his leadership, his quality and the rest they have to lift it up and they start to demand more from each other and they look at each other and say ‘mhmm, I better be good because I want to keep playing’, and this is very positive for the squad.

Timber ready to make an impact?

We won’t know that until we throw him in there. It’s tricky because there are only three games to go and he has missed eight months of football, he’s played only 115 minutes of football with the Under-21s, it’s a question that can only be resolved by throwing him on the pitch and we will see what happens, we have to try to nail that decision when [we take it].

Raya to stay?

Those conversations are for after the season. We will review where we are. Obviously, we are really happy with David and everything he has brought to the club and the team, there is no question about it. But, those decisions are taken by all of us at the club and we will see.”

What can you say about Odegaard’s leadership?

He’s a great character and a great person to have around. He represents the values of our club in the best way. He keeps maturing. He’s going to have some personal experiences in the next month that I think is going to be very good for his progression as a person. We are here to help him.

He’s matured [since joining the club], personally and professionally. Obviously, his role within the team is obviously really different from when he joined us on loan. He is our captain right now and he’s been our captain for a while. He’s a really respected player and he keeps performing in a way that not many can do at this level.

We don’t know the level he can reach. What we try to do in my job is to give players the right foundations so they can grow and then create an environment that inspires and supports them so they can feel they have the wings to fly wherever they want. This is what I have to do. Give them the foundations and then believe that they can always get better and that the limit is put in relation to where they look at it. Martin certainly is very ambitious.

What are those three [Odegaard, Saka and White] like off the pitch?

Yeah they are always together and you can tell the way they look at each other, the way they talk to each other, the way they communicate with each other, there is something special there.

Will Timber play for the Under-21s tonight?

No he won’t be playing that game tonight.

There’s been fewer crazy games this season like Bournemouth last season. Do you think that cost you last season and is the calmer games this season one of the reasons you’ve improved?

Yes, the probability of winning matches when you leave it so late is less. We’ve been better this season at deciding matches much earlier. That’s probably a good sign for the team that they can control games and decide them earlier. Hopefully we can do the same in the deciding fixtures.

Do you think in the long run that’s given your team more energy at the end of the season?

When you play every three days and you put more physical and mental stress and demands in the later stages of matches, there’s an accumulation there. Normally the teams that get to the latter stages [of a title race], you see how dominant they are in matches, the subs that they make. That’s something that is pretty relevant I think.

There’s been reports that you would accept offers for Gabriel Jesus this summer. Any truth in those?

I don’t know where this is coming from.

So you have no intention of letting him go?

No, no.

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