Ian Wright has slammed Granit Xhaka for his “very strange” interview after Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle United.
The Gunners suffered a major blow to their top-four hopes on Monday night as they were outclassed in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle. The loss kept them two points behind rivals Tottenham with just one game left of the season.
As one of the few veterans in the squad, Xhaka gave a brutally honest interview post-match where he admitted the players had not listened to Mikel Arteta’s instructions and even told his teammates to “stay at home” if they can’t handle the pressure.
Xhaka 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.
"If someone isn't ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn't matter your age. If you're nervous, stay on the bench or stay at home. You need people to have the balls to come here and play.
“It's one of the most important games for us. We're feeling very disappointed for the people who came over here. You can’t come here and perform like this. We can’t accept it. We looked today very, very bad.”
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Xhaka’s stern words were deemed too much by Arsenal legend Wright, who criticised his timing by saying: “Seeing a player coming out and saying ‘they didn’t listen to the coach’s instructions’ is a very strange interview from Granit Xhaka.
“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.”
Arsenal will now have to turn all of their focus toward winning the final game of the season at home against Everton. However, with Arsenal needing Spurs to lose to bottom of the league Norwich, the Gunners’ top four hopes were all but lost at St James’ Park.
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