Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left fuming in his post-match presser after some terrible decisions against his side helped Tottenham win the North London Derby. The Spaniard talked about poor officiating and how it cost Arsenal a comeback. Tottenham won an arguably soft penalty in the 20th minute by referee Paul Tierney. Further on, Rob Holding got sent off for a nasty challenge on Son Heung-min. However, the referee was unable to spot an earlier incident where the South Korean elbowed Holding.
Moreover, the biggest loss for Arsenal was their Champions League berth. The Gunners could have secured a top-four finish with a win against Spurs. But according to Mikel Arteta, Arsenal paid the price for poor decisions from the referee. The manager further talked about the next game against Newcastle United as well. Arsenal need two wins from the remaining two games to qualify for the Champions League.
Mikel Arteta goes ranting against controversial decisions
The Arsenal manager looked dejected and undone by the refereeing decision while talking about it in the post-match press conference. However, Mikel Arteta chose his words wisely as he feared he could be “suspended” if he went on to give a blunt verdict. The Gunners manager said, “If I say what I think I am suspended for six months. I am allowed to give my interpretation of what I thought, but I do not like to lie. I cannot say what I think, I will be suspended.”
But Mikel Arteta backed his players, who he believed deserved an “explanation” from Paul Tierney for the decisions. “I am so proud of my players, ask the referee to come here and explain his decisions. That’s his decision, such a beautiful game was destroyed here,” continued Arteta. “The decision is made, I cannot change it. The referee has to make the decision and react in football. To take the risk in the situation didn’t make any sense.”
The manager asks his players to now shift focus on Newcastle
Though Arsenal lost to Tottenham here, a top-four finish is still in their hands. The Gunners need to win against Newcastle and Everton in their remaining two games to make it to the Champions League. However, that’s easier said than done. But Mikel Arteta wants his side to come out stronger against the Magpies. Arteta said, “Now we focus on Newcastle. That’s our focus, this game is history. This game is history for us. Now it is Newcastle. We know how it went out of our hands and we accept it. Now we go to Newcastle and be the team you saw right from the beginning in this stadium.”
On being asked whether players will be utterly disappointed which could affect their next, Mikel Arteta responded, “No no, this is very acceptable, we lost a football match in the conditions that we lost, it’s painful but that pain cannot be sustained as we have a huge match on Monday. Now I talk about the excitement of playing Newcastle. We have two games to play, each of us, it’s in our hands and now we have to do our job. What we showed from today in this stadium [on what to do against Newcastle].”
Arteta needs to quickly regroup his players if they are to finish in the top four. Further on, the Spaniard will have to deal with injuries at the back as well. Gabriel sustained a knock against Spurs, Holding is banned and Ben White has just recovered.
Follow us on Twitter for more Football Updates.