Mikel Arteta has reacted to Emmanuel Petit’s comments about senior Arsenal players treating the club as ‘vacation’.
Petit has criticized his former side after the Gunners’ disappointing 3-0 home loss to Liverpool last weekend, with the north London side producing a poor performance in an outright loss to the Emirates.
Several of the club’s senior stars – including club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – have come under fire over perceived lack of effort and former Arsenal Petit midfielder questioned the example set by professionals the most experienced of the club.
“I still believe they have quality players at their disposal – do I think they have a lot of quality players? No! They have a good group of young players, although they are still learning. Little says Ladbrokes following the loss to Liverpool.
“I think some of these youngsters can get really good in the years to come – but in order to do that they need to see an example set by senior players. It shouldn’t be at a club like Arsenal that young players are the only ones showing passion, fighting and aggression.
“It has to come from the older players who should lead by example. When I look at the older players on the squad, it’s like they think it’s a retired football club, somewhere you just go on vacation.
“If you took out the name ‘Arsenal’ and looked at this group of players… average.
“At the end of the season, if I’m Arsenal, if I’m Arteta, if I’m on the set, to be honest with you, I think my main concern is getting half of the dressing room out.
Arsenal will be looking to bounce back when they face Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tonight and ahead of the clash, Arteta responded to Petit’s comments.
The Spaniard admits it is his responsibility to make sure the Gunners have a competitive and committed side, insisting that any player without a ‘passion’ to succeed in the Emirates will be out of place.
“It [Petit] knows the club well, ”Arteta said in his pre-match press conference.
“He was here in their most successful years and has that opinion. I am here to change that opinion.
“I’m here to give my assessment of what I see every day and where we are and I know where we are and where we want to go. We have to respect that.
“Showing passion goes with the character. People who are much more extroverted than introverted show more emotion with their body language than others.
“But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt so much. Of course, players who don’t have that passion, that emotion and that commitment won’t be in this football club.
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