Graeme Souness was unhappy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s post-match comments that Arsenal now have a better understanding of how they play since Mikel Arteta arrived at the club.
The Spaniard was appointed in December to succeed Unai Emery at Arsenal, whose own 18-month reign ended with plenty of animosity pouring down from the Emirates Stadium crowd.
Aubameyang told Sky Sports after the match: “We feel better. We have an idea of playing. It’s very clear and we are trying to maintain this level.”
The comments from the Gabon international were matched by some of his other Arsenal team-mates that hinted they are happier now than under Emery – but Souness wasn’t happy.
After Aubameyang’s interview had been shown, Souness said on Sky Sports: “What’s having an understanding with a manager got to do with anything?
“I don’t like that. I don’t like players talking like that. You know what you have to do. Okay, there’s one young player and one senior player there, Aubameyang I think he’s 31. I don’t like players talking like that. You know, you learn.
“When you get to a certain age you know what you have to do to be successful at this level. You have to run around with enthusiasm, you have to be aggressive, you don’t give the ball away cheaply.
“You attack things in an aggressive manner – and I’m not talking about going around fouling – just everything about Arsenal in the first half was passive. In the second half they became more aggressive, played with more passion.
“And to succeed at this level you must have all those ingredients. And then when you lose the ball you sprint back into your position. You get goal-side as quickly as you can, the basic things. Get first to the ball.
“I get fed up hearing ‘tactics, tactics, tactics’. The first thing you have to get right: you have to have the ball. So to get the ball you have to get to it first, and then you’re in possession, and then a bit of team shape, team play, comes into action.
“But to hear people say ‘we now know what we’re doing’, I’m not accepting that. For a 31-year-old to say ‘yeah it’s now clear, we now know what we’re doing’, I am not accepting that. He knows what he has to do to be successful. He’d have known that six, seven, eight years ago.”