Following Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle United, Mikel Arteta gave his honest opinion on Granit Xhaka’s controversial interview.
The North Londoners have had a difficult eight days, losing 3-0 to local rivals Tottenham Hotspur before falling 2-0 to Newcastle United on Monday night, denying them UEFA Champions League qualifying. The Gunners’ performance left a bad taste in the mouth of Swiss international Xhaka, who delivered a honest interview at St James’ Park after the final whistle.
“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home,” the 29-year-old told Sky Sports. It makes no difference how old you are. Stay on the bench or at home if you’re nervous. People must have the courage to come here and play. For us, it’s one of the most crucial games. For the folks who came over here, we’re quite dissatisfied.”
Xhaka’s statements were unimpressive to the likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, and Arteta was asked what he thought of the tough-tackling midfielder’s comments before Arsenal’s fixture against Everton. “We don’t comment on what we do in the dressing room,” the Spaniard said.
“Allowing someone to speak in front of a microphone allows them to express their feelings, and Granit does so in front of the microphone, in front of your eyes, and in front of your face. So there is no difference.”
“I prefer today not to comment too much on that,” Arteta said when asked if Xhaka went too far. “But when you allow people to speak in front of the media, you have to allow them to say what they feel, and knowing Granit, that’s what he felt.”