The manager also informed that the reason he hasn't started recently has been down to a fitness issue.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on young attacker Emile Smith Rowe, stating that his performances have been “extraordinary.” The manager also informed that the reason he hasn’t started recently has been down to a fitness issue. The academy graduate has been in fine form, scoring nine goals for Arsenal so far – but hasn’t started a match since December 21. “The reason why that happened is because he wasn’t fit,” Mikel Arteta said during a press conference, as per their club’s website.
“There was nothing else. His performances, when he’s been fit, have been extraordinary, the way he’s evolving, with the importance that he has in the team, I think it’s without a doubt really, really positive, but he’s had an issue that he’s been carrying and obviously that’s been affecting his ability to train, his ability to compete, the amount of minutes that we can give him. We are trying to get that situation resolved as quickly as possible, because we need the best version of Emile for us to be successful.”
He then switched the focus to the surprise defeat at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. “Obviously we were all extremely disappointed and upset after the game. We analysed what happened, we discussed it, we talked about it and hopefully learned from it. After that you have to throw it in the bin, take the lesson and move on because the game we have ahead of us tomorrow is too important,” he added.
On the latest team news, he said, “It is extremely volatile and uncertain, I don’t know what the situation is that we will have today or if it is different to yesterday. Obviously I cannot get into any detail with that. It is what it is, in the last week or so we lost so many players for many different reasons and we are trying to adapt to that. I will use the players that we have and make the most out of it.”
“They have been different reasons, some injuries, some Covid, some absences with players that have to be away with the Africa Cup of Nations. So different reasons.”
Asked about his approach to the game given the fixtures coming up, Arteta replied, “Well we know the impact that these games are going to have on our season. We knew before the Forest game, and we didn’t have a lot of options. We had ten players who could not start that game. That’s half of the team, for different reasons. It was a big lesson, we know that we didn’t perform at a level that was good enough. We have to move on because these next four games we have ahead of us are far too important.”
On facing Liverpool without Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah in the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg, he said, “I always have hope when I play and when I’m competing for any trophy. They have a couple of players out, we certainly have a lot out as well. It is what it is. We’re going to have to go there to try to win the first match because it’s going to put us in a better position for the second one.”