Gunners boss Unai Emery has confirmed he held talks with Xhaka at the training ground on Tuesday morning following Sunday’s controversial scenes during the draw against Crystal Palace in which the midfielder antagonised home fans before telling them to ‘f*** off’ as he was substituted.
Emery also confirmed he held individual meetings about the issue on Tuesday morning as the club dither over whether or not to strip Xhaka of the captaincy, as Sportsmail revealed.
Emery confirmed Xhaka has been left out of his plans to face Liverpool on Wednesday while David Luiz, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang had also been omitted from the group.
The Gunners manager believes that Xhaka needs to apologise. Emery added: Yes (he needs to apologise). I think when we make individual mistakes, we need to make apologies for the circumstances. I prefer to do that. We suggest to him to do it.’ Asked if the midfielder is still the right man to captain Arsenal, Emery added: ‘I explained why I decided that.
He has the values, he has the respect in the dressing room, he has experience and he is captain of his national team. ‘He has the conditions to be the captain. I decided that and the players respect that. He was wrong on Sunday and he also got wrong the response on Sunday, as a captain.’
The Arsenal boss refused to confirm if Xhaka had been fined after the incident, saying: ‘I think we can again speak about the same, we are in the first step after his mistake. Now is for him to recover as a person.’
The Arsenal manager is refusing to confirm whether Xhaka will continue to wear the armband following Sunday’s chaotic scenes but has revealed the midfielder is low. ‘It’s not easy for him and for the team. He is now devastated. Devastated and sad. We spoke yesterday and on Sunday night I also spoke.
‘This morning, he trained as normal with the group but he is devastated and he is sad about the situation. His commitment with the club is a great commitment every time. He wants to help.
‘His behaviour was perfect in training, with the group and with the club. He knows he was wrong. He was wrong and he feels it inside very deeply. But that is normal as a human. ‘You need – and every player needs – the supporters’ support. Support them, support the team.
We spoke and I spoke a lot with him also about that. ‘We need to learn and when we are having good matches and good moments, they applaud us and we are happy. But when we are in one difficult moment or we are receiving some criticism, we need to also be strong and to know and to learn to play under that pressure.
‘It’s our work, it’s our job and the supporters, they are the most important in our life. Because if there aren’t supporters, there aren’t fans and there aren’t people behind us, there is no reason to play professional football without our fans.
He is down and the most important thing now is that we look after him, his family. Look after him, the club, the team and also recover our best Granit Xhaka.
‘After that wrong situation on Sunday, I have one challenge every time, for myself and also for the team and every and each player.
When the supporters – our followers – are unhappy with us because maybe now we need to play, now we need to control the matches better and improve things to be stronger, we need them. But first it’s for us and we need to take one step ahead.
‘Individual circumstances like Sunday, they are coming because as a team we need to improve and we need to be more comfortable and transmit to the supporters and show better performances and the results for them. When we will do that, they are going to support us collectively and individually.’