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Arteta – David Luiz has been phenomenal

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Arsenal's head coach Mikel Arteta (right) embraces Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (second right) at the end of the English FA Cup semi-final match against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

Mikel Arteta never doubted David Luiz’s powers of recovery – and they were on show at Wembley in our Emirates FA Cup semi-final win.
Our Brazilian defender’s last encounter with Manchester City was short-lived and memorable for all the wrong reasons after an individual error that cost us a goal and a foul that earned City a penalty and himself a red card.
Fast forward a month and David Luiz was doing as much as anyone to keep City at bay at Wembley. It was a towering performance and Arteta was full of praise.
“This is part of football, you can go down but I didn’t have any doubts about David’s reaction,” he said.
“He held his hands up after that [City] game and he didn’t have to do that because we all make mistakes. The way he has been training and helping others has been phenomenal and I am delighted that people can now see this side of him as well and praise him because he deserves it.
“He has won everything in different countries so he brings that [experience] with him. Not only that but I want him to perform on the pitch and he is doing that again in a really good way and I’m really happy for him today.
“David doesn’t need a lot of management,” added Arteta. “What he needs is that we trust him and we don’t doubt what he can do.
“The best way to do that is to make him play. He can say that throughout his career he has had some difficult moments and some incredible moments, but big athletes go through those moments and I’m happy that he’s at the level he’s playing now.”
Arteta on Aubameyang’s future and a huge win
Mikel Arteta was all smiles when he sat down for his virtual press conference after Saturday’s fantastic win over Manchester City – and his old friend Pep Guardiola.
Our head coach was asked about a memorable week for the club, experiencing Wembley without fans, the post-match celebrations… and, as usual, the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
On trusting the process…
Yes, we are really happy for what happened in the last four or five days, to beat probably the best two teams in Europe is not an easy thing to do. A lot of credit goes to the players for what they are doing and the performances and the level of fight and decision-making they are showing on the pitch.
On if the experience of Wembley is different without fans…
Yes, one of the best things about Wembley is the atmosphere before the game, during the game and all of the protocols that are in place on the day, but we didn’t have them. Obviously we miss our fans a lot, we wanted to have a beautiful day with them but I’m sure they will have enjoyed that from home.
On the need to spend in the summer and whether winning the FA Cup could help with that…
Listen, we have had a lot of conversations and we always agreed with the plan that we have in place, and the current vision is very clear. It’s about the possibilities that we are going to have and at the moment we have some uncertainties. The way we finish the season, if we are in Europe or we win it [the FA Cup], it will obviously help because financially we will be stronger and that’s why we have to be a little bit patient.
On the celebrations in the dressing room…
They are so happy because we had a big task in front of us today against such a big team and we’ve done it, so they are really proud. The chemistry we are generating between them is fantastic and the way they are fighting for each other too. At the moment I have the feeling that I can play any of those players and they are going to respond and they are going to perform. We changed a few players from when we played on Wednesday and when we played today, and look at the way that they are performing.
On whether he would rather face Manchester United or Chelsea…
I’m going to watch the game tomorrow and use that game to get something out of it. I don’t know, it’s not our decision. We’ve done what we had to do today and now we need to prepare for the final against one of those opponents.
On whether nights like this will help convince Aubameyang to stay…
I think it will help everybody. These beautiful moments are always better than the bad ones and when I look at him and speak to him he sounds pretty convinced, but obviously if he can see the success and direction that we’re taking is the right one, I think he will be more positive about it, yes.
On Aubameyang’s tweet about his goalscoring record against big teams…
Yeah, but it’s like it with David [Luiz]. Big players [get criticised] more than any others and even when they do well, people are going to criticise you, but he showed today on the pitch. Not from talking, but on the pitch.
-Culled from arsenal.com

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