Arsenal ‘fully deserved’ Neville ‘mafia’ criticism, says Arteta

Date published: Thursday 8th April 2021 9:32 - Will Ford

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has admitted Arsenal “fully deserved” the criticism aimed their way after their defeat to Liverpool

Gary Neville claimed there was a “mafia” of forward players against the manager and branded others a “joke” as they had stopped playing for Arteta.

And Arteta has responded to the criticism, insisting he’s not making excuses for their dismal display, claiming all they can do is answer their critics on the pitch.

Arteta said: “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 it’s fully deserved for the way that we played.

“It’s no time to respond, it’s time to talk on the pitch and show what we can do. When we are at full gas, that is a lot.

“Listen, I don’t read or listen. Obviously, I need to be aware of what has been said.

“The only thing I’m saying is where there is the one from Gary or Jamie or whoever is talking about us, after the performance that we had against Liverpool we have to be mute and we have to perform. That is the only thing that we have to do.

“It’s just about how we take the criticism. It’s not good to get the criticism to feel guilty, because that guilt is going to be changed into fear. It’s about feeling responsible, and that is the key word for me.

“You have to be responsible every day for what you do on that pitch, for the club we represent, and then act and not do too much talking. It’s time for action

“It’s the only way we can do it because it’s about winning matches and being competitive in every competition we are involved in and winning trophies. That’s what we’re here for.”

Much of the criticism has been aimed at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit likening the club to retirement home for one last big pay day for ageing players.

But Arteta refused to pin the blame on individuals: “I think the whole team and myself have to put in better performances than we did against Liverpool, that’s for sure.

“Petit knows the club really well and was here in the most successful years and he has that opinion – I have to change that opinion. I am here to give my valuation of what I see every day and where we are and I know where we are and where we want to go. We have to respect that.”

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