Mikel Arteta defends attack on refereeing standards as Arsenal fallout continues

Mikel Arteta defends attack on refereeing standards as Arsenal fallout continues

Mikel Arteta defended his attack on referees and said he will continue to publicly criticise officiating mistakes.

The Arsenal manager called Anthony Gordon’s winning goal for Newcastle an “absolute disgrace” after his side lost 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Arteta described the decision as “embarrassing” and said he felt “ashamed” by the standard of officiating in the Premier League.

Arsenal then issued a statement in which they “wholeheartedly” backed Arteta’s comments “after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors”.

Arteta has been criticised for his rant but the Spaniard stood by his comments on Tuesday morning and said it was his “duty” to speak out.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Sevilla, Arteta said: “It is my duty to stand in front of you, to stand in front of the cameras, and give a very clear and honest assessment of what happened in the game. And this is what I did, reflect very openly on how I felt that the team played and how the game was conditioned by the decisions that were made.

“It is the duty. My duty is to be defending my players, supporting my players, my club, defending my people in the best possibly way and this is what I am going to do time after time. And I do it, not the way I feel, [but] with the evidence and being as clear as possible.

“But one thing is my duty towards you guys and then my duty as a coach to do what we have to do, and this is exactly what I have done, nothing special, nothing different and I would do it, and the club would do it, again and again until this is right. As well on the pitch to do what we have to do to play better and win more football games. That’s it.”

The FA have been considering whether Arteta will face action for his comments after the Newcastle game.

Arteta added: “The [refereeing] errors are part of an evolution. The trajectory is never going to be like this [a graph going straight up]. There are always bumps along the road and maybe these things are very necessary to happen to improve the game in the right way, and that’s it. But we have to talk loudly. If you have a problem and you put it in your drawer, the problem is in the drawer and it is going to stink at some moment. If you have a problem, let’s talk about it, let’s try to improve it and let’s, in a very constructive way, try to improve it. That’s it. That’s what we are trying to do, nothing else guys.”

Arsenal will continue to be without Gabriel Jesus against Sevilla due to his hamstring injury.

Captain Martin Odegaard, who missed the defeat by Newcastle and been struggling with a hip issue, took a knock in training on Friday and was due to be assessed today.