Every word Mikel Arteta has said on proposed changes from UEFA, Nicolas Pepe and Crystal Palace

UEFA are proposing to create two additional new Champions League places which appear to favor the English, Spanish and Italian leagues. What do you think?

You want to win, you want to be the best. The fact that UEFA is thinking about other possibilities, the game has evolved so much. The challenges that other leagues face in trying to host the best teams in Europe in a competition have become more difficult. They’re looking at options to try to improve it, to try to generate more entertainment, more viewers, more diversity and I think that’s a positive thing.

Cédric was back in the Portugal team. Are you proud to see him return to play for his country?

It is not a coincidence. When you have the professionalism, the dedication, the habits that Cédric has, good things happen to you. He was patient, silent and worked hard. When he had chances he did well and that’s why the national coach decided to bring him back, which I’m really happy about.

How much credit do you take for this?

I think the player should take all the credit and his teammates should learn a lot about this option. When you’re not playing, when you’re written off, you can take a whole different path, you can start blaming the coach or your teammates or the environment or whatever, and look the other way. What he tried to do was stay there, stay focused, learn more, and wait for his opportunity. When he needed to talk, talk on the pitch, don’t talk on the microphone because here it’s very easy to talk.

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Nicolas Pepe suggested he should keep working hard to get into the team. Is that what you want to hear?

I want to hear it if it’s an honest opinion. I think with Nico it’s because he didn’t show me anything different. I don’t want to find players who have the complacency to accept the situation. They must want to improve, try to take the player who is playing to a different level and help the team more. When you have the opportunity, you have to seize it.

Does it have that focus and application?

Again, that’s another. A completely different character from Cedric but every day, in his own way, he tries to help the team when he needs it.

Will Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace be a big test?

100 per cent. I’ve experienced a lot of those games and the race they’re in, the atmosphere we’re going to play against. We will have to be prepared and we will be prepared.

Is away form one of your greatest satisfactions this season?

If you want to challenge the best teams in the country, there is no other way. You have to win home and away. If not, you are not keeping up with the pace because the best points you hope to finish at these positions will be quite high.

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