Granit Xhaka’s comments on Monday night have been twisted and rewritten by various media outlets, but what he said was fair and understandable.
Granit Xhaka’s post-match comments following Monday’s defeat to Newcastle United have caused quite a stir in the media and on social media platforms, but let’s take a look at what he actually said.
After Arsenal’s terrible display in defeat to Newcastle – a game they had to win – Xhaka conceded that he and the rest of the team had got what they deserved.
“From the first minute until the 90th minute, we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today,” Xhaka admitted. “We didn’t do what the gameplan was.
“It was a disaster performance. Like this, you don’t deserve to play Champions League, you don’t deserve even to play Europa League. It’s very hard to take it at the moment.
“I don’t know why we are not doing what the coach is asking from us.”
The interviewer then tried to let Arsenal off the hook by suggesting it might have been the performance of a nervous, young Arsenal team.
Xhaka dismissed the suggestion, refusing to blame the display on the age of the team.
“I don’t know, if someone is not ready for this game, stay at home,” Xhaka replied.
“Doesn’t matter the age, you can be 30, you can be 35, you can be 10, you can be 18. If you’re not ready for that, you’re nervous, stay on the bench or stay at home, don’t come here.
“We need people to have balls, to come here and to play because we knew this game is maybe one of the most important games for us.
“I feel very, very sorry for the people that came over here to support us. I feel very, very sorry for the Arsenal supporters.”
In response to these comments, Gary Neville implied Xhaka was “having a go” at the young players, and added that Xhaka himself had been a disgrace at times.
A number of journalists and media accounts took the comments out of context to remove Xhaka’s repeated use of the word “we” and to make it sound like Xhaka was solely blaming his teammates, not himself.
I’ve also seen fans suggest Xhaka could make himself unpopular in the dressing room by calling teammates out behind their backs.
To me, that’s all nonsense. Xhaka is clearly including himself in his criticism, and all he’s done is refuse to take an easy excuse.
The midfielder knows Arsenal weren’t good enough as a team, he’s admitted it and he’s apologised. It’s the least he could do.
As for the suggestion that Xhaka’s teammates would be annoyed at the fact he hadn’t said this to them behind closed doors, I’m sure he did!
Xhaka has never shown himself to be anything but a straight-talker, that’s why the dressing room respect him to begin with. I’d be amazed if he hadn’t said the same thing to the faces of his teammates.
We’ll find out soon enough, when that god-forsaken documentary comes out.