How do you reflect on the win overall?
I think we had a really strong performance. Clean sheet which was needed after a long run without it. They were very efficient, intelligent and composed with the ball which I’m really pleased with. We showed great cohesion, understanding and it was the right attitude so I’m very happy.
Do you think it could give you some confidence ahead of the second leg in Prague?
Winning always brings confidence, better spirit, better atmosphere and better energy. We’re going to need all of that on Thursday to go through.
It was suggested in commentary that Arsene Wenger would have enjoyed Lacazette’s first goal
Hopefully. It was a typical Arsenal goal. It was really high quality and the definition from Laca and movement was really good as well. He’s playing really good, scoring goals and is full of confidence so let’s keep it going.
How’s Bukayo Saka looking at this stage?
I don’t know. He had to come off. He had discomfort in his thigh. It’s the last thing that we need because we’re missing some big players at the moment and we don’t want to lose another one. So hopefully it’s not that serious.
Do you feel really unlucky tonight with the injuries?
Yes, I don’t know the extent. For Thursday, David and Kieran will be out. Emile and Martin we don’t know yet. Bukayo let’s see how he develops in the next few days.
There’s a chance of Odegaard and Smith Rowe coming back then?
I don’t know. I want to think yes but if I’m honest I don’t know.
You’ve been telling us to be patient over Martinelli. You must be delighted with the impact he made?
Yes I am. I’m asking you to be patient because we have a lot of players at 19 and 20 years old. When you compare that with a lot of Premier League clubs at the top end it’s not common. Gabi’s having the right path, the right development, he’s got an incredible attitude and talent and has got all the future in front of him. What we have to do is to manage that, try to give him the right amount of minutes, the right games for him to develop to continue to get better.
You must be aware of the clamour for him to start in recent weeks?
I’m not aware because I don’t want to read that because I don’t want anything affecting me. What is affecting me is how I see him every day, how he is, all the staff and what our opinion is on how we want him to develop. I’m sure that there is always debate, when I play somebody, somebody else should play. That’s going to happen most of the time when you don’t win.
It’s going to be very hard to leave him out on Thursday?
You’re putting pressure on me now!
Lacazette is going to have a big role to play in your remaining games?
Yes as I said he’s in great form with a high level of confidence. He needs to keep doing it right up until the end of the season. If he’s going to continue this run it means we’re doing well and going to win football matches.
Do you think it’s realistic to score over 20 goals next season?
It is but he has to play 37 or 38 games. The players who reach those levels play almost every game, take penalties as well. He has the quality to do that for sure.
What did Xhaka bring at left-back?
He had a specific role today for the game because we believed they were going to try to do something. He had the right qualities to develop that role. He did that really good. It’s a joy to work with him because you ask him to play as a centre forward and his first reaction is ‘yeah, yeah I’ll do my best’. I think today he had a really strong performance and with Kieran probably out for the season it gives us another option.
How important is the front three for the rest of the season?
We are developing the team the way we want. Today we played in a slightly different way because of how they play and the players we have available. It worked good because the whole process when our high press in the starting line up the way we do it and the distance between the lines worked really good. The first process was clean and when everything is clean it helps the next line and the strikers to get on the ball on the right timing in the right space. Today we did that and it’s why we had good cohesion in the team.
Do you think Lacazette’s leadership qualities get overlooked by people?
I don’t know. I’ve seen that in the last six, seven months a big change in him. How he’s interacting with people, how he’s communicating with his team-mates. And the leadership he’s taken on the pitch and off the field as well. That’s really positive. He’s a player with a huge experience. He’s been here long enough to develop those qualities and we need those types of characters in the team.
Will Aubameyang be back for Thursday?
I hope so, yes. He was unwell yesterday. He could not train but hopefully in the next day or two he will be available and fit.
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