Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi urges referees to explain decisions and 'try to improve' after EFL Cup final

james olley
Evening Standard
Caught out: Aguero gets away from Mustafi before scoring City’s opener at Wembley: Rex Features
Caught out: Aguero gets away from Mustafi before scoring City’s opener at Wembley: Rex Features

Shkodran Mustafi has questioned the standard of refereeing in England and urged officials to communicate with players more often to explain their decisions.

The 25-year-old was at the centre of a controversial incident in last weekend’s Carabao Cup Final as Sergio Aguero eased him off the ball before opening the scoring in Manchester City’s 3-0 win.

Mustafi protested furiously and with video assistant referees (VAR) in use at Wembley, referee Craig Pawson appeared to consult with an off-site official before restarting play. Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere claimed afterwards that the goal should not have stood but instead it proved the catalyst for a defeat that prompted fierce criticism of Arsenal ahead of Thursday's Premier League home clash against the same opponents.

Asked about whether there was still a sense of injustice, Germany international Mustafi, who has played in Italy with Sampdoria and Spain for Valencia, replied: “It is how it is. In the Carabao Cup, you have the video assistant referee as well. It seems that it is not helping that much or maybe we are just complaining too much.

“In my opinion, there were a few situations where it could have been a different decision from the referee. But at the end of the day you have to accept it. You have to accept the decisions and hope that they are going to improve as well.

“Obviously we are looking to improve but I think it is important that referees look at themselves and try to improve because sometimes, you know, I have been playing in a lot of leagues all across Europe now and it seems like the referees in England, they don’t even want to talk to players. It is something that is very important to have that connection with the referee so he can explain why he decides something that you see differently.

“Here, if you go to a referee, it seems like he doesn’t even want to explain to you why he took a decision or to tell you how he saw the situation. I don’t want the referees to give me everything but at least they can try and explain why they make certain decisions.

“As I said before, we have to look at ourselves and try to improve but I think that they have to do the same.”

Arsenal are ten points behind fourth-placed Tottenham but can move within five points of Chelsea in fifth with victory and Mustafi called on his team-mates to seize the quick opportunity for revenge against the League leaders.

“When you play a team four, five months earlier, in that time a lot can change but if you play Sunday and then Thursday again, obviously it is not going to be big changes,” he said. “You know what to expect. You know what you did wrong on Sunday and you can improve on that on Thursday, so obviously it is going to impact. But it’s a new game it starts 0-0 and you have 90 minutes to try and put things right.”

(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Nacho Monreal is out with a back problem while Petr Cech is expected to replace David Ospina in goal.

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