Mikel Arteta had plenty to be positive about after his Arsenal side dispatched the MLS All-Stars 5-0 on Wednesday night here in the United States.
We took control from the moment Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring after just five minutes, with Leandro Trossard, Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and Kai Havertz also on target at a sold-out Audi Field.
After the game, the manager spoke to the media about the game, Leandro Trossard’s fitness, the new signings and plans for next season. Here is a full transcript of what he said.
How much he enjoyed the game:
It was a fantastic apartment and a great atmosphere. It was great to see so many Arsenal supporters fill the stadium. We had some great moments in the game and some moments, especially in the first half, that weren’t so great, but we’re still very early in the pre-season and of course it was great to see some debuts with Jurrien, Auston and Declan and I was really happy with the result.
On Trossard’s injury:
He suffered a stroke and obviously we don’t want to take any chances at this time. He was in some pain and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but I don’t expect it to be anything big.
What he wants from Matt Turner next season:
First of all, the same as last year, which is a big contribution to the squad and a big contribution to the goalkeeping unit because he is so competitive and keeps everyone at their best every single day. When he played he’s been great with us and with the national team he’s been great so I think he’s on a great run. Obviously he needed a bit of time off because it’s been a long, long year for him, I don’t know how many competitions he’s played in but it was so many and so he needed a break. When it’s after his break, he’ll be back with us.
On seeing the stadium packed with Arsenal supporters:
Well, that’s great. We’re a massive club and we’ve had a massive impact in world football and it’s great to see that no matter what city you’re in, you have support. We had people waiting for us at the hotel and it was great to see that today. I’m sure we’re going to New York and it’s going to be very similar and we’re also going to LA so I think it’s great for the boys to realize where they are and how privileged they are to represent this football club. Thanks to all of them for being here and giving their support to the team.
On having a physical game with the MLS All-Stars:
I want to be as competitive as I possibly can. Also for the players who planned to play for 45 minutes and in the next few games we will build the minutes for them as well. We knew they were an opposition in the middle of their season, they are really fit at the moment. We suffered at certain moments with the heat and the conditions, and also with having to adapt to the pitch, but that is the start of the process in pre-season. You look to adapt and defend in the conditions and find a way to play well and win the game.
On our new signature bedding quickly enter:
They are, and we have to find that fluidity in the game and those relationships. It’s something that’s hard to predict as a coach what’s going to work, but sometimes whether it’s on the field or at the table, they find that chemistry between them. Especially in the first half, the way we started, we were a bit out of breath and we started giving away too many simple balls and we couldn’t really control the game. But it was true that we were exceptional in both boxes today; every time we were in good positions in the final third we put the ball in the back of the net and we have to defend moments in those transitions when we give the ball away. I also think we defended really well.
On the meaning of timber:
I think you saw tonight that he’s a really versatile player, you can see him defend in those positions. He gives you the capacity to turn around, to occupy different spaces. He is so comfortable on the ball in that phase and he also has this aggression in the duels and the dynamism that I really like about him. You saw from the first act; he went and won the ball immediately on that duel and he was ready to go. That’s how he’s been the last few days – he’s playing really well with the team and I think he’s going to be a really important player for us.
On Kai Havertz’s adaptation to different positions:
I think, again, that’s one of the most important qualities he has. He gives us something completely different with his quality and size also when, for example, you have to beat the press and use him as a goalkeeper. So we’ll see – because now he plays in the attacking midfield position, but I’m sure that throughout the season and throughout the games we will also have the opportunities to play him in different positions.
Whether there will be more variety from Arsenal this season:
We’ll see, but the idea is to be more unpredictable every year and be harder for opponents to stop and negate what we want to do. That’s what we have now, especially at the back and in midfield the options we have to open up the spaces, we have a lot more options than we had last year.
About the Americans in the Arsenal squad:
Of course we wanted to give them the opportunities to play and they both played. Matt is obviously not with us, but with Auston and Flo I think they deserved to enjoy that moment and get that recognition and play in front of the crowd. I think they really enjoyed it.
Whether our attacking options will help us this season:
I hope so. We have to start doing the right things in the preseason to get the best possible preparation and get that chemistry and cohesiveness in the team. And then we go step by step. It’s a great league, it’s so competitive. Let’s see how we start and we’ll go from there.
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