Thursday, October 28

Arteta speaks on ‘little mafia’ within Arsenal squad


Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has told his players they must take Gary Neville’s harsh criticism “on the chin” ahead of their Europa League quarter-final clash against Sparta Prague on Thursday.

The Gunners were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool on Saturday night, with their lethargic performance even more damaging than the result.

Neville, speaking on Monday Night Football, particularly laid into skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette, branding them a “little mafia”.

While Arteta would not be drawn on whether a disconnect had emerged between himself and his players, he feels any criticism of the side was justified.

When asked to respond to Neville’s “little mafia” comments at a press conference on Wednesday, Arteta replied: “No, no response. I think we have to respect every opinion and when there is criticism coming after the way we played against Liverpool we have to take it on the chin.

“Because any criticism we get – with the way we played – is fully deserved.

“So it’s not time to respond, it’s time to talk on the pitch and show what we can do which, when we are at full gas, is a lot.”

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