Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has defended his decision to take off Granit Xhaka with 11 minutes remaining of their Euro 2020 qualifier with Denmark by revealing the Arsenal midfielder had an injury problem.
The Swiss were winning 3-0 when Xhaka, who’d made it 2-0 on 66 minutes with a rasping right-foot effort from the edge of the box, left the field of play.
— AFCMike (@AFCPW) March 26, 2019
He must have thought it was job done when he sat down only for his teammates to concede three times after the 83rd minute. Henrik Dalsgaard headed home Denmark’s unlikely leveller deep into stoppage time.
Given Xhaka’s absence appeared to trigger the collapse, Petkovic was asked about the substitution.
“Xhaka could not stay on the pitch,” he told the press afterwards. “He asked me ten minutes before to be replaced.
“Granit had adductor problems, he could not do any more.”
With Newcastle visiting the Emirates, we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that the problem isn’t too serious.
We’ll likely get an update on the status of the squad on Friday when Unai Emery tackles his pre-game press conference.