Mikel Arteta said he was simply trying to improve Arsenal's performance when he substituted defender Nuno Tavares just 34 minutes into the Gunners' defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Tavares was visibly upset with Arteta's decision to hook him during the first half of Sunday's FA Cup third-round clash, which ended in a 1-0 win for the Championship side.
The defender took off his gloves and threw them at the ground as he walked towards the Arsenal bench, with Arteta not acknowledging Tavares as he sent Kieran Tierney on the field in his place.
What did Arteta say?
Arteta was asked in his post-game press conference if he considered that withdrawing Tavares so early would create a story.
The head coach replied: "I understand that but I have to make the decision to try to improve the performance of the team when it’s not going in any other direction," Arteta said.
When pressed further to discuss the situation, Arteta responded: "I don’t want to talk about any individuals."
Former Arsenal star Ian Wright said more than Arteta on the situation, claiming that Tavares' reaction could lead to long-term issues.
"He started very poorly with this bad back pass, and with this one you look at his reaction," Wright said on ITV.
"He is coming off, he’s throwing his gloves down, I think this is the wrong manager to do this with.
"The disrespect he is showing at the minute is something Mikel Arteta won’t like, he shouldn’t be acting like that with the performance he put in."
Meanwhile, Roy Keane also addressed the situation, adding: "Why is he upset? He must know, he is in front of the dugout, he was sloppy in everything he has done.
"OK, a player can make a mistake, but that sloppiness, a lot of that is down to his attitude, the way he started the game. And you can't start a game like that, you get dragged off."
Tavares' Arsenal career so far
The 21-year-old fullback joined Arsenal this summer, making the move from Benfica.
He's featured 17 times for the Gunners this season as he's competed with Tierney to start at left-back.