We want to continue the run. We haven’t done anything. We just won a couple of games and there is still a lot of things to improve, certainly in the league table. We have to look much further. We need to be more consistent and the first half of the season is gone now, so we have another half to play and – and hopefully it will be much better – is uber. Okay. I know he went down the tunnel um on monday. Is he all right? Is he gon na be first, as far as i know, he’s feeling very good okay and how strong will the squad be on saturday, as we know, you’re the you’re, the cup holders compared to the match when you play them in in the week as strong as It can be, we would assess the players who is fit to play. Who is recovered? We had a few issues as well after the game, so in the next two days we will see the best possible lineup uh to beat southampton we’re gon na, be playing then twice in in three days, which is strange and try to keep the the fa cup Run going as well, can you just clear up how you come to the conclusion to let socrates leave it was best? Was that best for everyone? Yes, first of all, i want to thank you because he’s such a professional and a great person to work with and it’s a shame, because this season we have a lot of central defenders.
We have we’re overloaded with foreign players and i have to make a decision. Um he was a tough one to be fair. He took it really really well. He’S always been really supportive and and helpful. So from the bottom of my heart. I wish him the best uh he’s been a pleasure to work with him and and wish him the best for him and his family in the next chapter. Can you just let us know what the latest is with me? I know. On monday, you said he was taking his medical. I mean i presume that deal will go through today, yeah, but the quarantine situation is making that uh final step the longest ever and because they have a lot of restriction there. There are things that have to be done before announcing anything. I think everything seems going okay, but i cannot say definitely what is going to happen so as soon as we can don’t worry that we will mention it. You said on monday to me that it was, it was the is the necessary decision to take. How did you come to this conclusion and how hard has it been for you because you, you was a teammate of him as well yeah for many different reasons: uh there is a history here, what happens as well in the last few years, how things develop and How i believe that the team should evolve for the future and his position at the club and a play with such a an importance? Um that is not playing that is not in the squad is a really difficult situation to sustain for both parties, because the player wants to play, and we cannot give him the minutes and uh and obviously that situation has to be resolved.
He’S, a very talented footballer, but it just what doesn’t fit in your team. Is that fair to say, he’s, a great footballer he’s, a really talented footballer is a play. That is done a lot for the football club and but at the moment i want to take the team in a different direction and and if we would have more options, maybe he was part of of some plans. He was part of some plans at the start. Um and it wasn’t anymore at the end. Thank you. Good luck. Saturday. Thank you. Yeah talk, sport, hi michael. How are you i’m good, and you described me there as being a great footballer, but you want to take the team in a different direction and i mean which direction is that is that a trophy winning direction or a challenging for the title direction arsenal has to Challenge for every trophy and every game has to be won: that’s the standards, the level and the history related to to us. So i want to do that in a way which our dna shows, which is using as well a lot of talent, young talent as well. Using plays from our academy and and building something different in the last few seasons, we have so many different issues not to achieve the things that we want and in my opinion there were things that have to be changed and slowly um to build something. You have to start to change some pieces and we are on that process.
You are the holders and – and i just wonder if you can tell me how much that cut win last year – brought you the time you’re enjoying now, because the beginning of season, you were under a little bit of pressure from outside, but do you think that cutwin Brought you the time you’re enjoying now and therefore the success you’re. Having now i don’t know yeah when i was losing food almost i wasn’t thinking about that cup, the football and and and the pressure that this football club brings is his win today. What you did yesterday, it doesn’t count no more it’s about tomorrow about the next game about the next goal, and i just focus on that. It was great. We won two trophies. We did in a really nice way against big teams, beating big teams, which i think he gave him more importance, but now i’m focused of what is ahead of us. That is done. Okay, we enjoyed it. Let’S enjoy more in the future. Now, as you know from chatting to me every week, i extensively do my research before talking to you and i’ve. I found out that southampton, never beaten you in the fa cup, you’ve beaten, also beating them in the semi fight in semi final before finals, and of course, last time out, you won five nil down at saint mary’s when somebody called theo, walcott scored a hat trick. Four years ago, you’ll be facing theo this weekend.
Um, do you think he’s still the player he was well. I think he looks really strong this season, that’s for for sure, he’s played a lot of minutes uh. He scored against us a very typical theo. Welcome goal. Uh, when he played at the emirates, um anja is a he was a teammate of mine, a great lad and i’m happy that he’s doing well, because he’s going through some difficult periods with some really bad injuries as well and – and he deserves that, did you always Think you’d be a striker like an out and out front man. He always wanted to be there uh. He likes to be very close to the goal, um all the time threatening behind uh. I think he improved his finishing a lot in in the last year and and his goal record improved as well. A lot arson used to do a lot of work with him uh when he was here and – and he always defined him as as a great uh timing with his movement and and the the arrival in the box and and it’s true, and sometimes he played in There, even when i was a player and – and he did really well good luck this weekend and i hope the fa cup continues to buy you more time. Thank you again, gary skye hello, my cow hello. Among the many many things that you’ve said about the transfer window, i think at one point you said that the first half of it would be perhaps clearing a few away which you’ve managed to do and then maybe in the second half you could concentrate on.
If you needed to bring anybody in is that is that still the plan? We are on that process right now, so we’ve done the first part uh more or less, and we are focusing now in the second phase and obviously this market and and the context makes it really difficult. But we are looking at options and – and we will see what we can do – one player the club have been linked with, for quite some time is uh. Martin odegaard um suggestions that you wouldn’t be against bringing him in from real madrid on loan. What are your thoughts on him? Sorry gary, but i cannot comment about players that they play for different clubs, but uh a creative midfielder attacking midfielder would be one of the types of players that you might be looking for. If the opportunity arose, we are looking at the various position, because the movement that we’ve made in this transfer window with some place, leaving the club leaves is a little bit short in certain areas. So if we can, we would do it and and if we can’t, we just keep uh going with what we have a player that you have got already emile smith. Rowe talk of a new deal for him, let’s go step by step, emily’s done really well. He deserves his chance, he’s taking it and grabbing it with both hands in a really convincing way. So let him be things would come. Naturally, you’re gon na be sick and tired of saint mary’s on you by wednesday.
Next week you thought about staying down there, maybe having a bit of a break on the south coast, even in these difficult times. Well, the difficult times i think makes that impossible, because the restriction we have we’re spending time together in hotels and and all that. So i think we’ll be in and out very quickly, just a final thought less than a month ago, as you alluded to in one of your earlier answers that uh you were under pressure, there was never a day went by when people weren’t talking about whether or Not you know you were gon na get sacked by arsenal when you look at what’s happening at chelsea. Does it does it make you smile that frank’s going through exactly the same now because of a downturn in results? No with any of my colleagues are in in difficulties i don’t smile. If anything, i would like to support them, and i had a lot of support i’m pretty new here. But i have a lot of support with a lot of managers in the league and when we were going through rough times, give you some advice as well and – and i think what we should do. I think we are competing with each other. But at the end we share a profession and we know the challenges of this profession, so i wish him, i always frank, the best yeah just to clarify that’s a badly quick question. I meant you smile with the media, have now found a new victim, a new person they that they’re, perhaps talking about being sat rather than you.
No, i understand but uh. No, i just focus on what we have to do in in what we are doing and what i am doing and and try to get better every day and and obviously everything is going to be linked at the end of of results, not about many other things. So we need to be clear on that and – and you cannot take anything for granted because you know that this job is is like that. Thank you. Thank you mark at the press association morning, mikhail hi um a little bit about cedric suarez. He had a slow start with injuries, but i think he really gets newcastle. What he could do is he now at his best, and can he challenge bellarin for that right, back spot on a permanent basis? Well, yes, he joined us. He had uh various injuries and and some difficult times as you mentioned, and it took him a little bit of time to to adapt to get completely free and now and now the the chances to play uh. The best thing with cedric is the way he takes. This profession, the way he trains the way he prefer himself so every time that we had to use him uh, he was always ready. He’S always fit to compete, even not playing for many parts of the season. When he had to play 120 minutes, he was completely ready and the other night. I think he had a really good game when you have a player that’s, not in the team as much as you’d like you, almost do see morbid character from how he is in the training ground and how he is around the other players, even when he’s not Playing when i see someone behaving like he’s done, training like he’s done all the time trying to help um accepting my decision, which at the end, is tough for him, but at the end and challenging it in a way where he’s all the time competing in training.
When he has a chance to play, do it well and all the time asking for reason why he’s not playing what he has to do better? I just want to reward this kind of behavior and and plays and and cedric is on that for sure. What would your answer when he asked what he needed to do better? We talked about some things about the game and then what i said is that you have to stay fit uh. He came here with an injury there and had a nose issue. Then he had another knee injury and um and now he’s been fit and he’s been competing, and now he got his chance. You just have to go there. You you feel, you may be short in some positions, it’s one of those positions that left back because you’ve obviously got hearing, but then behind that it’s not really a natural position, yeah with the departure of coal um we’re a little bit. Uh short, with a left footed full back at the moment. We know we can use, we can use ainsley there, we can use bukayo there. We can use cedric, which is played in that position. We have some options: unnatural options to kiran. Obviously we don’t, but we can adapt. Does that mean you are looking for a left back or are you just gon na yeah? I think it’s good. That means that that option is is open and we’ll be looking to see what is available.
Thank you. Nick yeah. Thanks for stealing my questions there mark uh, but we can move on um. Before the last round mikhail. I asked you whether flo balogun was fit available and in your squad you said he was he was fit and available, but we haven’t sort of seen or heard from him since um. Is this because he wants to leave the club that you’re just not involving him anymore? No, if anything, regarding his contractual situation with the club. I just want to convince him that he has a future at the club and not sending the opposite message and before he was in training with the first team, we changed that he’s been training with us, a lot he’s improving every single day, he’s showing a real Hunger and desire to be with us and we’re all trying to to get something done because we wanted him to stay and we have to go step by step. I think he’s made some big steps in the last few months, where he wasn’t even training, and then he had a few good games for us. So the steps are there and in every way, and – and we just want to try to keep him so why hasn’t? He been involved in any match day spots because the competition we have now in front positions and because there are other players that they haven’t had many minutes and they played in the fa cup and and it takes time and um, and we have to respect that Pathway eddie as well, is not playing a lot uh recently as well and um and he’s in front of him at the moment, and we have to be calm and respectful.
So he hasn’t told you he’s agreed a deal to go to a foreign club. At the end of the season, excuse me nick he hasn’t he hasn’t agreed a deal to leave the club at the end of the season. As far as saying no no okay, just a quick question about the club ever since arsene wenger, said how difficult it was to finish top four and top four was like a trophy there’s, been a debate about the importance of finishing top four champions league and the Fa cup, for you now as a as a manager, what is the most valuable prize for you top four i wouldn’t like to choose. I would like both nick. We want to win every competition that we are involved. Obviously, the next step for us is to be competing in the champions league again, and arson mentioned that and it’s just a few years ago, and – and i agree with that – because the competition was getting bigger and bigger and the last three years that level has gone To another dimension, but uh, this is the level that we need to to achieve and we need to get and uh. We need to be closer and closer to that. Each year i get your point. You can’t you can’t celebrate top four like a winning a cup. Can you no you can’t, but as well? You have to know your reality and um when you are 35 or 40 points behind the the winner of the competition to close that gap in one year, it’s very unrealistic me personally, i haven’t seen it done.
Okay, thanks very much james espn morning, mikhail um, first it’s, just a general question about about the window january – tends to be quite quiet anyway, but do you think for all the clubs it’s it’s, maybe the toughest to do business in given covid and all the uncertainties That are still around yes, because there are impressive moments and i think we all very cautious and unconscious about what we want to do and how we’re going to do it, how the market is going to evolve so yeah. We need to be careful. We want to assess every decision really carefully and then, when we are clear about an opportunity, then we would try to do it. Do you think, given that the fact that you’ve got socrates kalasa nationals all off the wage bill, celiba out on loan playing games? Do you consider this a successful window now, even if you don’t get anyone else in well, we could not carry on with 31 players. In the squad is unmanageable and as well when you have to leave some of the foreign players out, it makes it even more difficult so to do it for a few weeks: it’s. Okay, if we do it for months and maintain and the health, the ambition and the chemistry around the place, it’s really complicated, so one of the main objectives was to make some decision of how we’re going to offset um that and uh we’ve done it. Given that i mean how much will it help you do, you think, keep building team unity and spirit now that you’re going to work with a smaller group, you’ve got sort of fewer players to disappoint, if you like, just for me, the important thing is that everybody Feels in both parts and then they have a chance, so they’re all fighting for a place.
But at the end they need to feel that they have the the opportunity when they perform to get the chance to play. And when you are completely out. That is out of the equation and then it makes it really difficult to find that motivation is normal uh. Just finally, a couple of months ago, you said you were trying to find out who was leaking information at the club. I just wondered: if you were ever successful with that uh, i have a sort of an idea. Yes was that relate.