Arsene Wenger says Granit Xhaka has failed to master the art of tackling and urged the Swiss to stay on his feet in future.
The comments come in light of the 24-year-old’s second red card in Arsenal colours – his third of the season, including a dismissal at international level – even though the boss feels referee Jon Moss’ latest decision in the Burnley game was a bit harsh.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s game with Southampton – one of four matches Xhaka will miss as a result of his indiscretion – Wenger said:
“After watching it again, I think is harsh. It was not a dangerous tackle, it was a clumsy tackle.
You have to accept that you can be punished for this tackle now. He has to learn from that. I don’t think he wanted to injure anybody but overall, he has to learn from it.
“Unfortunately, we lose him for four games at a very important point of the season. Hopefully, we’ll get away with it.”
“[I have] More [concerns] about his technique,” continued the boss when challenged on his summer signing’s temperament.
“He’s not naturally a great tackler in his decision making. I think he’s quite intelligent on the pitch but it’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique of tackling.
“I would encourage him not to tackle…to stay on his feet. That’s the best way to deal with it. Tackling is a technique that you learn at a young age, you can improve it but when you are face-to-face with somebody, it is better you stay up.”
Wenger also confirmed that Xhaka ‘denies completely’ the allegations that he racially abused a British Airways employee at Heathrow airport. The Swiss was questioned by police under caution after an incident was reported at the weekend.