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Minutes after arriving in Portugal, Mikel Arteta was ushered to his press conference before Thursday night’s match against Sporting CP.

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At the Estadio Jose Alvalade, the coach answered questions from the media, including about his selection options, the return of Gabriel Jesus to training and what we can expect from our opponents.

Here is all he had to say:on team news: Tomorrow there will be news on the team. We have brought some players and tomorrow you will see who is available.

on whether Nketiah and Trossard could be fit for the weekend:
Let’s see how they evolve, obviously we have had some problems in the last few days. We try to please everyone and put everyone in the best possible conditions for tomorrow.

on not having a separate league team and cup team:
Because we have a team and we have to play all matches with the best possible players to win it. Right now we’ve made eight changes [to the championship], so we’re trying to accommodate those. Also, players have moments in the season where they are available or unavailable, and tomorrow will be the same, but we will definitely try to put together the most competitive team to win the game.

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on frustrated players because they don’t get minutes:
Everyone wants to play, it’s true that we wanted to rotate some players, but they’re injured and unavailable, and that could be the case tomorrow as well. Sometimes it’s difficult, but the players have to earn it, play the minutes and be fair in football is very difficult. You have to be really good at communicating your decisions and trying to get the players to understand what they’re doing, but at the end of the day you have to worry about what’s best for the team. We want everyone to feel important and we will try to make it feel that way.

to players struggling with the disease:
These things happen throughout the season – sometimes they happen four days before a game, sometimes a day before. We will take care of it today and tomorrow and everyone will be in the best possible condition to compete. If we approach this game differently now, we are in a title race:
Our priority is the two competitions. Of course we have to earn the right to continue in this competition to go as far as we want and tomorrow we will face a really tough opponent. The best way to prepare for a competition is to win the game before and have the confidence and excitement to tackle the next game. If we can play well tomorrow and win the game, we will prepare better for the next game.

on Real Madrid’s rumored interest in him:
Managers or players can’t control what’s written, but I can tell you that I’m totally focused on what I’m doing here. I am very happy, proud and grateful to be with this football club.

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on his confidence in the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli as our main striker:
We have different options with different qualities and different profiles to play in that position, obviously with the absence of Eddie and Leo in particular. We will have to see and adapt in relation to what our opponent will do and the relationships we have on the pitch, what is the best thing to do.

on reuniting with Hector Bellerin:
I love the person and the player. He was a very important player for our club, someone who left more of a career than he did, but as a person in our football club. It will be great to see him again tomorrow and I’m sure the boys and the team will be very happy to see him again.

on resisting the temptation to reject Gabriel Jesus:
We will try not to push him away, we will try to make the right balance between what he needs and when he is comfortable and give the team the boost it will need in the coming weeks. Everything is going well, he needs time to gain confidence and fitness to compete with a free spirit and if he is able, we will launch him.

how Kieran Tierney dealt with not playing:
Very good because we discussed the situation and we had a very similar position. He knows his role – he’s played a lot under me, probably more than any other player, including previous players who have been at the club in the last three years. He understands the situation and has to challenge the situation.

on the versatility of players to help them rotate:
We have to because we have some players that we don’t know if they can last 60, 70 or 90 minutes. We have to be very good at maintaining the quality and balance of the team, as well as the threat of being as competitive as possible during the 95 or 96 minutes that the match will last.

on Emile Smith Rowe:
He’s doing well, he’s been training really well and he’s been really happy that the team won [last weekend] and next.

on the fact that Fabio Vieira is fine for tomorrow:
Fabio is fine, yes. when he drew on Fabio’s knowledge of Sporting:
That was definitely the first thing we did because it’s great to have the knowledge and understanding of someone from the country, who knows the coach and has [international] teammates. He is always very helpful and spoke very well.