Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta breaks silence on controversial Granit Xhaka interview after Newcastle defeat | Soccer

Xhaka quizzed his teammates after the Newcastle defeat

Xhaka criticized his team-mates after the Newcastle defeat (Image: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta says players must be allowed to speak their mind when facing the media following Granit Xhaka’s controversial interview in which he called his Arsenal team-mates.

After the Gunners lost 2-0 to Newcastle United, who took a top-four finish out of their hands on Monday night, the midfielder insisted the club need players who ‘have the balls’.

“What happened was a disaster performance. They don’t deserve to play in the Champions League or even the Europa League,” said Xhaka.

A Champions League return is now beyond Arteta's side's control

A return to the Champions League is now beyond Arteta’s side (Image: Getty Images)

“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay home. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they can be 30, they can be 35, they can be 18, if you’re not ready for that, if you’re nervous, stay on the bench, stay home, don’t do it come here .

“We need people who have courage.”

When questioned about Xhaka’s comments, Arteta told reporters: “What we do in the dressing room, we don’t comment. Allowing someone to step in front of a microphone means expressing their feelings.

“You have to ask him exactly what he meant or who he was pointing to. The comments are clear.

“I’d rather not comment too much on this, but if you allow people to speak in front of the media, you have to allow them to say what they feel. Knowing Granite made him feel that way.”

When speaking to Xhaka, Arteta added: “We always talk.”

The Gunners are two points behind Tottenham ahead of their final game of the season against Everton at the Emirates Stadium.

They need Norwich City to beat their north London rivals at Carrow Road and hold their own against the Toffees to claim fourth place.

MORE: Arsenal react to Man City’s Gabriel Jesus asking for prize

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Arsenal FC Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta breaks silence on controversial Granit Xhaka interview after Newcastle defeat | Soccer

Nate Jones

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