Emi Martinez says Granit Xhaka is a ‘great leader’ and made clear that the club captain has the support of everyone in the Arsenal dressing room despite his public spat with fans.
The Swiss midfielder is said to be devastated at the way he was jeered off the pitch against Crystal Palace on Sunday but is yet to apologise for stoking the flames by cupping his ear to the crowd and swearing.
Concerned for the player’s welfare, the club has refused to comment on whether Xhaka will be disciplined and if he’ll retain the armband.
Facing the media after the 5-4 penalty defeat to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, Martinez gave an update on how the squad is feeling.
“He’s a great leader for us and we support him all the way,” said the Argentine.
“We couldn’t think about that tonight because of the game at Anfield. We wanted to win this game for him and for Arsenal.
“He loves the club. When someone goes through that we have to support him. We are together on this question.
“It was a shock [on Sunday]. We know how much he cares about the club. Everyone got emotional. Probably at the time he wasn’t thinking too much about that.
“We were 2-2 and the fans wanted to win the game, it was a bit nervous in the stadium. If he does it [gets substituted] again he won’t think about that, he’ll come off quick. We support him all the way and we’ll get through this.
“The manager decides if he’s captain or not but for us as a group we support him all the way.”
The players who featured against Liverpool enjoyed raucous support from the travelling Gooners despite the evening ultimately ending in defeat.
The noise from the away end pleased Martinez, who said: “They showed us that they love us and they support us. I was devastated not going through for the fans that came to watch the game. We are sorry to let them down but on Saturday we are going to put things right.”