Home North London Transcript: Arteta talks Sambi, Tomi & Saka ahead of north London derby...

Transcript: Arteta talks Sambi, Tomi & Saka ahead of north London derby | Arseblog News

3

In the second half of Friday’s press conference, Mikel Arteta was pressed on the readiness of his new recruits for Sunday’s clash with Sp*rs. 

Leaning on his own experience of the Rangers versus Celtic derby, which he experienced when he was barely out of his teens, the boss said he trusts his players even if they haven’t yet experienced such an occasion.
__

On Sambi Lokonga being ready for a north London derby…

He already played one, it was a friendly, but he played really well. That was one of the days, well one of the other days because we’d already spoken to his former coaches that we got the feedback that he has a big personality to play in any game. He was already captain of Anderlecht, that doesn’t happen by coincidence. He’s fully ready to play. 

On Arteta being only 20 when he played the Glasgow derby and what that was like…

Everybody talks and when I walked through Glasgow people would try to explain what it means for our supporters, people, the manager, the players. Then when you’re in that stadium and it’s rocking and the pressure is on, it’s a different beast. You have to experience it, you have to go through it and enjoy it because it’s a great game to play. 

On that being the message for Lokonga…

He knows what to expect. He played some big games in Belgium. We are here and believe [our games] are always special but there he’s played some big games and we will try to acknowledge what he will find on the pitch. He will be ready. 

On there not being many Japanese or Korean players who’ve done well in the Premier League…

Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they’ve not had many opportunities. I don’t know. With Tomi [Takehiro Tomiyasu], we made a decision [to sign him] because we all believed he had the right qualities, personally, professionally to fit in with our culture, our way of playing and we made the decision because we were fully convinced he could bring those qualities to our club. 

Whether Tomiyasu’s qualities are physical…

And technical. And his focus and his determination and the way he trains every day and the experiences he’s already had at 22-years-old. There are a lot of factors in there to make a big decision to bring a player to our club. 

On whether you can teach a new player to play a north London derby or if you have to learn on the job…

It’s very tough to put him in the right situation, you can show him images, you can talk about it but then you have to experience it, like any other game. You have to live it and go there with the determination and passion to enjoy a big game and do what you’re able to do. And control the things that you do well on the pitch that give you reassurance. 

On how long it’ll take for Arsenal to change the narrative about whether they lack fight…

Every time we’re on the pitch we have to do it for ourselves because we know it’s a basic principle to compete in any game in the Premier League and to get the results that we want and, hopefully, afterwards people will be convinced that we are able to do that. We’ve done it in the past since I’ve been here with other managers. We’ve got to keep that belief that we are able to do it and then it becomes something normal. 

On his side having reference points – Martin Keown, Patrick Vieira etc. – from previous generations of Arsenal players…

It’s another generation of fantastic players. They created a history in those clashes, it was different the way of acting, the relationship between players, it was phenomenal to watch. I didn’t experience it but it was phenomenal to watch from the outside because it was all about passion and competing with each other. 

On Bukayo Saka’s form since the Euros…

I think it was an incredible experience for him and he made the most out of it. He’s in a good place. He was catching up physically because he didn’t have a pre-season, but I think he’s in a really good condition right now. He finished the game pretty strong against Burnley, he came on the other day [against AFC Wimbledon] and he looked in good shape. He’s such a happy, humble and lovable boy. We want to help him as much as possible. 

https://arseblog.news/2021/09/transcript-arteta-talks-sambi-tomi-saka-ahead-of-north-london-derby/