Unai Emery admits Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka ‘needs time’ before making his return to the first-team following the midfielder’s angry outburst towards his own supporters last weekend.
The Switzerland international reacted to jeers from the Arsenal support following his substitution in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates, cupping his hands to his ear and mouthing ‘f*ck off’ as he left the field.
The 27-year-old has been heavily criticised for his performances this season and has since said he had reached ‘boiling point’ in the aftermath of the incident, following threats to himself, his wife and his daughter by the club’s supporters.
Gunners boss Emery has now confirmed that Xhaka will not be considered for the visit of Wolves tomorrow, admitting he ‘needs time’ as he bids to recover his uneasy relationship with the Arsenal faithful.
“He is training. He didn’t play in Liverpool for me he is continuing, above all [we are] focusing on tomorrow,” Emery said at his pre-match press conference.
The following is a message from Granit Xhaka… pic.twitter.com/YG5lBKmQvi
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 31, 2019
“The human, like everyone, feels. Xhaka’s issues last week is one issue that needs time. He needs time to recover the normality in him.
“He said sorry, he gave the apology to the supporters and to everybody. Now is the focus on the match.”
Reports has suggested Xhaka’s position as captain was in jeopardy following his reaction, having been was voted as club captain by the Arsenal players following the summer departure of Laurent Koscielny to Bordeaux.
Emery insists the captaincy is not his current focus, with the Spaniard’s sole concentration being on preparing his players for this weekend’s meeting at the Emirates.
🗣 – "I want to speak about the players who are going to play."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 1, 2019
“We were waiting on Monday and Tuesday,” the Spaniard added when discussing the captaincy.
“Now we need to be focussed 100 per cent only on the match. We are going to do the training today but at the moment it is not in my mind.
“I want to speak about the players who are going to play.”