Gary Neville has slated Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka after his controversial post-match interview following the club’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle. An own goal from Ben White and a strike from Bruno Guimaraes put a huge dent in the Gunners’ top four hopes.
After the game, Xhaka said: “I don’t know. If someone is not ready for this game, then stay at home. It does not matter about the age. You can be 30, 35, you can be ten, you can be 18. If you are not ready, if you are nervous, stay on the bench or stay at home. Don’t come here.
“We need people who have the balls, sorry to say that, who can come here and play. Very sad. The important thing is not to accept it. Feel very sorry for the Arsenal supporters. I say sorry to them. I don’t have any other words.”
Neville responded on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, saying: “He’s obviously having a right dig at people within his dressing room. I don’t know who he is having a go at there, I hope he wasn’t having a go at those young players.
“Him? I tell you what he has been a disgrace at times over the past four or five years. He has left it up in the air there, it was nothing. I don’t know what to make of that interview. I think I heard him say stay at home if you haven’t got the balls. I think that’s what he said.”
Jamie Carragher added: “He has come out really strong, and we like players to be honest and we like strong interviews. He is almost having a go at his own teammates really, saying they were not ready.
“But also I know from my own experience, it’s easy to come out and be really strong with your words and powerful at a time like that and maybe get a bit of credit for it. Do it on the pitch. For me he is perhaps putting out some of the younger players he didn’t feel were ready maybe or maybe I’ve got the wrong gist of the interview. It was almost like an experienced player saying people were not ready, they were not up for the fight.
“I love players being honest, that’s why I am trying to give him credit for that type of interview but it is easy to do that sort of interview, he was part of that.”
Arsenal now need rivals Tottenham to lose away to Norwich on the final day of the season, while they defeat Everton at home to make top four. They currently sit two points behind Antonio Conte’s side with a significantly inferior goal difference following the defeat away to Newcastle.