Furious Granit Xhaka rubbishes claim that Arsenal are mentally weak away from home

Sam Dean
The Telegraph
Granit Xhaka has hit out at criticism of his Arsenal side - Getty Images Europe
Granit Xhaka has hit out at criticism of his Arsenal side - Getty Images Europe

Granit Xhaka has said it is "bulls---" to claim that Arsenal are mentally weak away from home as he responded furiously to the club's critics following their demoralising defeat by Sheffield United.

The Arsenal captain has said Sheffield United's goal, scored by Lys Mousset, was "so easy" for the home side but he denied that his side have a mentality problem on the road.

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Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in 24 away Premier League matches under Unai Emery and have won only four away league games this calendar year.

"We have to stop speaking about mental [issues] or bulls--- like this," said Xhaka. "For me it is the same if you play home or away. You have to win. You have to show big character. You have to show a good games and not always find the same excuse."

Patrice Evra, the former Manchester United defender, was the latest pundit to criticise Arsenal, telling Sky Sports that Emery's side are like "babies".

Asked about those comments, Xhaka said: "A lot of people speak too much. I hear that the first time he [Evra] speaks something against us. I have a lot of respect about him, because he was a great player. But you have to be careful what you say in those situations as well.

"It’s not only him, it’s a lot of people. They speak a lot of bulls--- about us. It’s always the same.

"For me it’s strange because they [pundits] were in the same situation as us. They were players as well.

"Maybe sometimes it was good, sometimes it was not so good. But how I say if you speak every weekend, every game, bulls--- like this they speak, they don’t get respect about what they say.

"I tell you the honest [truth]. I’m not interested in what people say and speak. We have to speak in our group to improve things and work hard."

The defeat means Arsenal missed an opportunity to go third in the Premier League table. Emery's side are now fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, ahead of a meeting with Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday.

The nature of the goal was a source of major frustration for Arsenal, with Mousset allowed to score from a simple set piece.

"Of course it’s frustrating because it’s so easy," said Xhaka. "It’s too easy if you lose the game because of a corner or free-kick.

"We have to improve things. We had good things as well. We were compact in defence. They didn’t have a lot of chances. But if you want to be in the top four you have to beat Sheffield.

"I think we did a lot of good things. I think Sheffield had one chance, it was the goal. That’s it."

Emery will face more pressure to change his defence for the visit of Palace, with both Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney still waiting to make their first league appearances of the season.

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