Granit Xhaka says that the Europa League final defeat to Chelsea hurt a great deal, and that because of the failure in that game and the poor end to the Premier League campaign that nobody at Arsenal can be satisfied with the way last season went.
The Swiss international was speaking ahead of the Nations League tournament which sees his country go up against Portugal tomorrow, and the midfielder was certainly more frank about how things turned out than he was last week.
“That the final is the highlight of my career so far,” he said. “So, it hurts a lot, damn it hurt.
“It annoys me enormously that we have lost.”
As for his thoughts on his own performances throughout the season and the way it ended up for Gunners, he was fairly forthright.
“I set myself clear goals before the season,” he continued. “It was important for me to further improve my passing quality and risk more often to create scoring situations for my teammates.
I wanted to take more responsibility and definitely become more dangerous in the opposition half. I have fulfilled all these points for the moment, but there is still much to work on and improve on.
“Concerning the club you can objectively say that despite the upheaval after two decades under Arsene Wenger, our season was successful in reaching the final of the Europa League and 5th place.
“I think that if you play to the end for the Champions League seats and miss out in the end because of several unnecessary defeats in the season finale – we as a team are not allowed to be satisfied.
“Our claim was clearly to reach the Champions League, even if it is getting more and more difficult in our league. That’s why I said after the defeat in the Europa League final: No, I’m not satisfied with the season.”
Xhaka admitted he’d be honoured to take the captaincy next season if it were offered to him, but much will depend on the future of Laurent Koscielny who is tipped to depart.
There are also question marks over Mesut Ozil, while the other two of Unai Emery’s five captains – Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech – have left the club.