Unai Emery has refused to confirm if Granit Xhaka will continue as Arsenal captain.
Xhaka provoked anger during the weekend’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace as he was booed by supporters as he walked off the pitch. He then cupped his ear and appeared to shout ‘f*ck off’ towards fans.
Xhaka’s actions have seen numerous legends of the club speak out against him, but Emery, who held crunch talks with the skipper earlier this week, will not be as quick to react.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup encounter with Liverpool, he was quizzed over the players future and replied: “I don’t want to speak about that. Firstly, he has to recover. We cannot anticipate the circumstances.
“I’d prefer to keep moving forward.”
Xhaka received criticism for his failure to apologise to fans in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach confirmed that the 27-year-old is hurting at present.
“It’s not easy for him and for the team. He is now devastated, sad,” Emery said. “We spoke yesterday and Sunday night and this morning.
” he trained normally with the group but he is devastated. He is sad about that situation.
His commitment is great every time. He wants to help. His behaviour was perfect in training, with the group and club. Really he knows he was wrong. “He feels inside, very deep. It’s normal as a human. Every player needs the supporters’ support.
“We need to be strong, to know and learn to play under our pressure. It’s our work, our job. The supporters are the most important in our lives. If there aren’t supporters and fans behind us there’s no reason to play football.
“He is down. The most important thing now is to look after him and his family and also recover our best Granit Xhaka. “After that wrong situation on Sunday I have one challenge every time.”
Nevertheless, Emery said the man elected as captain by his team-mates in a vote should have handled the situation differently.
When we make individually some mistakes we need to make some apologies. I prefer to do that. We’ve suggested he do that,” he continued.
“He has the mindset to be the captain. I decided that and the players respect that. “He was wrong on Sunday and also did not respond as captain.”