Granit Xhaka has said that claims Arsenal are mentally weak – such as those made by Patrice Evra, who branded them “babies” – are “bullsh*t”.
The Arsenal captain was speaking in the wake of a 1-0 away loss against Sheffield United, in which a goal from Lys Mousset was sufficient to give the Blades a surprise victory at Bramall Lane.
In their last 17 matches away from home, the Gunners have picked up just four victories, undermining their challenge to push for a Champions League spot next season.
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Following the latest setback, Evra launched a broadside at Unai Emery’s team . Speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports , he said: “I used to call them my babies 10 years ago and they still are when I look at them. That’s the truth, and I’m not being disrespectful when I say that.
“It’s just the feeling I get with this team. They look pretty, they look good, but they don’t look like a winning team, they just like playing good football.”
Xhaka responded swiftly to the criticism, stating: “I have a lot of respect for him because he was a great player, but you have to be careful what you say.
“He knows these situations well, but it’s not only him. A lot of people speak a lot of bullsh*t and it’s always the same.
“We have to stop talking about [the mental side of the game] and bullsh*t like this.
“I’m sorry to say that, but for me it’s the same whether you play at home or away – you have to win and show big character and not look for the same excuse.”
Xhaka hinted that Evra faces the prospect of losing credibility as a pundit when asked if such comments from former players can be considered cheap shots.
“For me it’s strange because they have been in the same situation as us – maybe it was sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but like I said, if you speak bullsh*t* like this every weekend, then what they say doesn’t get respected,” the 27-year-old said.
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 10 behind league leaders Liverpool.