Arteta hits back at Maupay but says Arsenal's defeat was 'all our fault'

Omnisport

Mikel Arteta hit back at sniping from Neal Maupay but saved his most cutting criticism for Arsenal after they collapsed to defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Brighton striker Maupay grabbed a fine stoppage-time goal to earn a 2-1 victory, after earlier being involved in a collision that saw Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno suffer a nasty knee injury.

Leno clearly felt Maupay was a villain of that piece, gesturing and shouting towards him while being carried off the pitch on a stretcher, with Arsenal not expecting to learn the extent of the German's injury until Sunday at the earliest.

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Maupay became Brighton's last-gasp hero and then stressed he had not intended to hurt Leno, before delivering the jibe that rankled with Arteta when he claimed Arsenal's players "maybe need to learn humility".

"He can say whatever he wants," Arteta said. "I know my players and one aspect that they don't miss for sure is humility."

It appeared Arteta might have more sympathy with a subsequent suggestion from Maupay that Arsenal "got what they deserved".

"I think we did a lot of things today to win the game comfortably, but we haven't competed like you have to compete in the Premier League," Arteta said.

"We gave the first goal away and we lost a few important duels afterwards, so I think it's all our fault.

"I think they competed for large parts of the game, but in crucial moments when you don't, you pay the price and that's it. It's all my fault obviously because I'm the one that has to make sure they do."

Maupay was confronted by several Arsenal players at the end of the game.

Arteta blamed that reaction on "frustration because we've thrown the game away", saying he did not believe Brighton's French striker had set out to cause Leno any harm.

Rather than dwell on any sense of injustice, Arteta said Arsenal could not use Leno's injury as an excuse.

Instead he was looking closely at the focus of his players, and he bemoaned the fact they switched off late on and were punished.

Nicolas Pepe's impressive curling shot gave Arsenal a 68th-minute lead, but Lewis Dunk soon equalised, setting up the dramatic climax as the visitors let their guard down.

Arteta's team look certain to miss out on a Champions League place next season, and he rued the fact they had not competed to the final whistle.

"It's not the first time it has happened and if you want to win football games consistently at this level, it's a must and it's a non-negotiable," he said.

Quoted on Arsenal's official website, Arteta said Leno's injury looked like a hyperextension of the knee.

"He was in a lot of pain, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see how bad the damage is," Arteta explained.

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