Mikel Arteta says it’s his ‘duty’ to defend Arsenal after referee comments: ‘I did it with evidence’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says it is his “duty” to give an “honest assessment” of matches following his controversial post-match comments after Saturday’s 1-0 loss against Newcastle United.

Arteta said it was an “embarrassment” that Anthony Gordon’s goal had been allowed to stand, calling the decision “an absolute disgrace”.

Arteta’s comments on the officiating performance at St James’ Park drew criticism but the Spaniard maintained he used “evidence” when asked to reflect on them ahead of their Champions League home game against Sevilla on Wednesday.

“It is my duty to stand in front of the cameras and give a clear and honest assessment of the game,” Arteta said. “This is what I did. My duty is to defend my players, club and people in the best possible way. I do it with the evidence and I always do it.”

On the emotion in his post-Newcastle match remarks, Arteta added: “Things don’t happen overnight.

“When I had all the evidence to stand in the media it’s because I feel strongly about them. Internally, I tell the players how we can play better.”

Arteta’s comments on Saturday were supported by Arsenal officially a day later, with the release of a club statement that “wholeheartedly” supported him and criticised the “unacceptable” officiating errors.

“We have a duty to express how we feel with all the evidence we have,” Arteta added on the club statement. “We have to stand for our people, our values and who we are.”

(Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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