‘Devastated’ Xhaka should apologise, says Emery
Granit Xhaka has been left “devastated” by the confrontation with Arsenal supporters on Sunday but still should apologise said Gunners manager Unai Emery on Tuesday.
Emery, though, would not be drawn on whether the 27-year-old Swiss international midfielder will remain the captain following his tantrum on being substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Xhaka — who was voted captain by a secret ballot of his team-mates in the close season — has enjoyed a fractious relationship with the Arsenal supporters since he joined in 2016.
It reached its nadir on Sunday when they booed him as he walked off with him cupping his hand to his ear and then apparently mouthing ‘F**k off’ in their direction before storming down the tunnel.
“Yes (he should apologise),” said Emery, speaking on the eve of the Gunners’ League Cup fourth-round clash with Liverpool.
“We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that.
“Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.
“Now we are looking, seeing he is devastated and the first thing is to recover him.
“We need our family, friends and supporters to support us, love us.
“He is not feeling that with the supporters.
“But we are speaking with him ‘first, be calm. Be close to your family and be close to us because we are your family’.”
Emery said Xhaka has the qualities required of a captain but refused to respond as to whether he remained in his post.
“At the moment I am not speaking and I don’t want to think about that,” the Spaniard said.
“It is not easy for him and for the team. We spoke yesterday, and Sunday night also, and this morning.
“He has the values, the respect in the dressing room, experience.
“He is captain of his national team and has the condition to be the captain.
“I decided that. The players respect that, and he was wrong on Sunday and it was not the response of a captain.”
While he has been silent since the incident, Xhaka changed his Instagram profile picture on Tuesday from one in which he is sporting the Arsenal armband for one of him captaining Switzerland.
He will be taken out of the firing line for a few days at least as he will not travel to Anfield for the League Cup tie.
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