Unai Emery believes Granit Xhaka will improve if he has Arsenal fans’ support after the midfielder was booed during the Gunners’ 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Switzerland international has come under fire in recent weeks, with Arsenal fans unimpressed at a number of sub-par performances.
Xhaka under fire: Five things to know…
- Xhaka has played 139 times for Arsenal since joining the club in 2016.
- But the ex-Gladbach man has often been a scapegoat for poor team performances.
- Arsenal fans were unimpressed with his showing against Aston Villa on Sunday.
- So much so that they cheered Emery’s decision to bring him off in the 72nd minute.
- Emery has labelled Xhaka a “very important player” for the north Londoners.
Xhaka was the target of jeers from the Emirates stands during Sunday’s game and certain sections of the crowd even cheered as Emery withdrew the midfielder in the 72nd minute.
But Emery insists he’s happy with Xhaka’s performances of late and has insisted the 26-year-old will only get better with the backing of supporters.
“We need our supporters. We need them helping each player. Our responsibility is to transmit our quality,” Emery told reporters after Sunday’s match.
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“He played very well on Thursday, last week in Watford. Today I changed him because he played for 90 minutes [in midweek].
“Xhaka is a very important player for us. He has a big commitment and he is improving. I am not asking people to support him but I am sure he is going to achieve the best things if the supporters help him.”
Emery went on to say that Xhaka has reacted well to the criticism he’s received and that his commitment levels haven’t wavered as a result.
He added: “We are professional, the coach, the players. He [Xhaka] knows he can receive criticism.
“We need to be mature and experienced to continue working. The next match is another challenge for the team.
“For me, he is a very important player, I am going to support him. His commitment and behaviour is great.”
Arsenal’s dramatic win lifts them to joint-third in the Premier League table, with a League Cup clash against Nottingham Forest and a crunch match away to Manchester United up next.