Unai Emery has stressed how important he feels Granit Xhaka is to Arsenal, citing his character and the fact he gives the team midfield balance.
The Swiss international is in the spotlight after conceding a ridiculous penalty in the North London derby, but while acknowledging the error the manager believes it’s better to focus on the positive, and says that every player makes mistakes.
Ahead of Sunday’s Premier League encounter with Watford, Emery said of his potential captain, “He gives us very good balance in the middle with the ball and without the ball.
“He’s very important for us. We can talk about the defects of any player, for him too, but we can speak about the very positive performances he gives us in most matches.”
And on the penalty he gave away against Sp*rs – not the first in his Arsenal career by a long way – Emery continued, “We were speaking this morning. Recognise that mistake, learn, correct it, improve and repeat with success.
“We could speak about every player’s mistakes in every training session and each match.
“Only, some mistakes can be ‘big picture’ because the consequence is more. But really we can’t have more mistakes like that after they score a goal against us or if we haven’t scored.
“But I am focused on the good things, on the positives. Xhaka has a big character and he’s very important for us.”
The 26 year old will likely start today against Watford, and it’s fair to say he owes his manager a performance after that kind of backing.
Let’s hope he delivers it.