Ian Wright has criticised Granit Xhaka’s ‘very strange’ interview after Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle United and says the comments would have ‘upset’ his teammates.
Arsenal’s top-four hopes are hanging by a thread after the Gunners were beaten 2-0 by Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Mikel Arteta’s side now need to beat Everton on the final day of the season and hope Tottenham lose to bottom-placed Norwich City to secure Champions League football for next season.
After Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle, Xhaka blasted his teammates and said anyone who ‘isn’t ready for the pressure’ should ‘stay at home and watch’.
He told Sky Sports: ‘If you perform like this, you don’t deserve to play in the Champions League.
‘If you don’t listen to the coach, if you do your own stuff and whatever you think on the pitch, it doesn’t work.
‘People speak always about leaders. We are not playing tennis, we’re playing football, we’re 11 against 11, we need everyone on the pitch.
‘It doesn’t matter the age – if someone isn’t ready for this pressure like today, stay at home and watch the game from home.
‘You can’t come here and perform like this. We can’t accept it. We looked today very, very bad.’
Arsenal legend Wright felt the comments were ‘very strange’ and says Xhaka should have done his talking in the dressing room before the match.
‘Seeing a player coming out and saying “they didn’t listen to the coach’s instructions” is a very strange interview from Granit Xhaka,’ Wright said on Premier League productions.
‘To say it now, I don’t think it helps anybody. That’s the kind of talk you want in the dressing room for them to understand when you go out there, then you know what you need to do.
‘Afterwards, it probably makes people upset, especially when you aren’t naming names.
‘I felt it’s the kind of talk you want before the game. It’s very easy to say afterwards because, the Tottenham game, you come out and say it then.’
Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville also took aim at Xhaka after his outburst.
The Sky Sports pundit said: ‘I think I heard him say, “Stay at home if you haven’t got the balls”. So he’s obviously having a go at people in his dressing room.
‘I don’t know who he’s having a go at, I hope he wasn’t having a go at the younger players… him?!
‘I tell you what he’s been a disgrace at times over the last four or five years, getting sent off recklessly. He’s left it up in the air there, that was nothing there.’
Just four days after a 3-0 north London derby defeat to Tottenham, Arsenal were outplayed by Newcastle and Gunners boss Arteta admitted he was ‘incredibly disappointed’.
‘The way we started to the finish, Newcastle were better. They deserved to win by a mile,’ Arteta said.
‘It’s a really difficult one to accept. We have to cope with those nights [including the defeat by Spurs] and we didn’t cope with those nights.
‘We haven’t been able to deal with situations throughout the season. The squad suffered a lot with injuries but that can’t be an excuse.
‘Newcastle were 100 times better than us. The way we competed today [was disappointing]. In every department you have to earn the right to play and we didn’t do it.’