Mikel Arteta hit back at Neal Maupay over his post-match comments on Saturday, where the Brighton striker questioned Arsenal’s humility.
After angering the Arsenal players by injuring their best player, Neal Maupay seemed surprised by the fact that he was suddenly public enemy number one. He complained after the game that the players were making comments to him and lacking ‘humility’.
Mikel Arteta responded to those quotes in his post-match press conference, saying: “He can say whatever he wants, I know my players and one aspect that they don’t miss for sure is humility.”
Arteta didn’t come down hard on the player for injuring Bernd Leno, however. He stayed neutral on the subject, insisting: “I believe that no player has the intention to hurt anybody and I believe in this case it’s exactly the same, it was unfortunate.”
Personally, I would’ve preferred an Arsene Wenger-style tirade against the way his players are treated. There’s something satisfying about hearing a coach as angry about an injury as the fans are.
At the same time, maybe it’s better to go another way. If anything, Wenger’s complaints about the officials and the opposition only really got us a reputation as a soft club. Perhaps Arteta can help to reshape that by not using physicality as an excuse to drop points.
The downside of that approach is that there’s no shying away from poor performances. Arteta is inviting the scrutiny of the fans upon himself, so he better come up with the answers for them.