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Read all the words from Mikel’s Post-Sporting Presser



Mikel Arteta saw his side share four goals with Sporting CP in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg in Lisbon.
William Saliba’s first-half header and Granit Xhaka’s deflected goal saw us return to north London with a well-balanced draw.
After the game, Arteta spoke to the media about the tie, our record-breaking set piece save, Fabio Vieira’s performance and more.
Here is a full transcript of the press conference…

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about the game is it scratchy:
When you concede two weak goals, as we did away in Europe today, it is very difficult to obtain the expected positive result. I think the game had different phases, mainly because we gave too many balls, too many easy balls in our own half and we gave them hope and gave them the possibility to enter moments of transition where they are good. In the moments when we had to control the game, we lost a bit of the threat today, especially with the forwards who we miss in front. We had something positive because we showed a lot of resilience to get back into the game, but we have to defend our penalty area better and we have to be in the second leg to beat them.

Sporting’s first goal was due to a lack of communication:
I don’t know what it was. It’s very difficult when it happens in a second, but in this space, for sure, nobody can have a free head and you concede a goal because it’s too easy.
on taking the Europa League seriously:
We [are not giving up on this competition] and today we had to deal with some problems that we had in the last few days where we lost players. We lost four or three of our attackers, but if we want to progress in this competition, we have to go through difficult times. We knew we were alive, everything is still open in the Emirates and hopefully we will play better and deserve to win the game.

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About conceding a free kick:
Sometimes the opponents are really good at what they do. If they make the right delivery in the right space, sometimes it only takes half an inch if you take that header out of the box or it goes in. It’s true that we need to improve that dramatically over the next few games if you want to keep winning games.

on the development of Fabio Vieira:
We are very happy with him, I think he deserves more minutes than he has had, especially in the last two months. Obviously he had a difficult start because he got injured as soon as he arrived, so he needed some time to get back to the level we want. You saw tonight that he was one of our dangerous players, that he made things happen and he is a player that I absolutely adore.


on his counterpart Ruben Amorim:
What I said before the match is that I really like him. I think what he and the coaches have done over the years is remarkable and they are a great team, so of course kudos to the coach because you can see he has very clear ideas.

To sum up our achievements of the last few weeks:
We concede too many easy goals and we talked about the importance of boxing, especially in a competition where you are in or out. Today we didn’t defend well enough and we have to improve against our opponents. We’ve had a lot of very emotional games lately, and today we made a lot of changes, so cohesion needs time. In the first 10-15 minutes, you could sense that we needed time to adjust and click, but if we don’t disclose that, it’ll never happen.