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on when Thomas Partey could be back…
No, he picked up an injury very early in the game [against Aston Villa], he tried to carry on and he wanted to play the second half and we knew it was a significant injury. He has done really well, he is working very hard and he wants to be available. Hopefully we can get him back soon but it is an area where we have to be careful and a bit protective with the player.

on the international player COVID protocols…
To really know the protocols that all the national teams are applying is almost impossible because there are so many things that have to be controlled. We’re just trying to be in contact with them and making sure that they know what we are expecting. They are trying to protect the players as much as possible, like we are doing. In some countries it’s more difficult than others obviously, the more exposed they are in flights, if they have to go on different planes, the percentage of risk is increasing constantly. It’s not ideal but we need to go through this. We are learning every day about it and there’s not much that we as managers can do as well.

on Gabon manager’s claims that we won’t release Auba for internationals again…
No [he’s not right]. Obviously it was a shock to see a full squad sleeping the way they were doing. I always believe that everybody’s trying to do their best and the Gabon national team are trying to organise things the best possible way. Sometimes unpredictable things happen and it was an experience. I said to Auba, ‘Take it as an experience. I’m sure for many months or years you haven’t slept on the floor, take it from there and just make sure when you’re in your bed, you know how good it is, how comfortable is it and how lucky you are’. You cannot change it, you cannot rewind it so take it the way it is and move on. I hope that the next time it doesn’t happen and that our players have the rest that they need.

on the reported incident between Ceballos and David Luiz…
Nothing. Training is very competitive and issues happen a lot of the time, but those things get resolved immediately within the team. There’s not much to say.

on whether there’s an issue between the two…
No problem at all.

on whether he saw what happened between the two of them…
No. I’ve got a really bad vision from far away! That’s why we train behind closed doors.

on whether Willian will play on Sunday after reportedly being in Dubai…
You keep asking me for more and more issues. Whatever happens internally with any issues or things that we don’t expect, as always we will try to resolve them internally. That’s been dealt with and explained, and we move on.

on whether Willian let him down…
We had a conversation and I explained what I expected. There are a lot of personal factors at the moment and as well from our side, we need to be in their shoes. A lot of players are having different issues, like any person out there and sometimes they make decisions based on the needs of the moment, or what people are expecting from them. Whether they are right or wrong, it’s a thing that we have to discuss. But it’s been dealt with in the right way so let’s move on.

on whether Willock could start…
I mentioned with Joe that I’ve been really impressed with him, the way he’s handled the situation of not having much game time in the Premier League. I haven’t seen him train like he’s done in the last five or six weeks under difficult circumstances. I think the reflection of that is the way he’s playing in the Europa League when he’s had the minutes, or the Carabao Cup in this case. He has a chance like everybody else to play on Sunday.

on whether Eddie has the chance to start…
He’s another one that is fighting and knocking on the door every day. I really like his mentality. He’s cultured, he comes into the training ground and he says ‘I should’ve scored four’ so that’s the type of ambition and hunger that you want from players. So again, with both of them and some others, I am really happy.

on Pep’s new deal at Man City…
I’m very pleased for him because as you know, he has never been so long at a football club. So the fact that he’s extending his contract means that he is extremely happy there, that he has found his place and that he feels valued there and he has the chemistry that I know with the players, the fans and obviously with the ownership. I want the best for him and if he’s extended his contract it’s because he is very happy and he feels that it is the best place for him to continue his career. So congratulations.

on Pep talking about ‘unfinished business’ at Man City…
Well, knowing him and his ambitions and how competitive he is, unfinished business means that he wants to win every competition, every year. For sure. If he needs to win the four domestic trophies again and he can do it, I’m sure he’s going to try to do it. Obviously Europe is a massive thing and he really wants to move the club towards that Champions League win and that’s on his way. I think medium and long-term, that was one of the things that he wanted to achieve so I’m sure that it will be a focal point.

on whether we’re asking too much of players…
It’s really demanding and it’s never been done, to play the amount of games that we have to play in a calendar year, in the history of football. Obviously, we know the consequences of that and the only thing from my side that I would demand to the Premier League and to the broadcasters is ‘let’s protect the players’. At the end of the day, this industry, yes we can do it without us being together in a room. We’ve been doing it, training individually and doing it without having the possibility as the manager to speak to them all in a room, and we’ve even done it without the fans. But guys, we need the players. We have to protect them as much as possible. They are the protagonists of this whole industry and whatever you can do, if you have to modify the rules and make them a little bit more flexible for them to give them a better opportunity to be fit – and it’s not just physically, I mean mentally as well – then let’s just do it, please.

credits: www.arsenal.com