“There was no justification for it” – Granit Xhaka breaks silence on clash with Arsenal supporters

Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka says there was "no justification" for Arsenal fans' treatment of him during last month's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd cheered the decision to substitute Xhaka in the second half, before jeering the midfielder as he trudged off the pitch.

The Switzerland international reacted badly to the boos, appearing to swear at the home supporters and cupping his hand to his ear.

Xhaka, who was subsequently stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery, has been linked with a move away from north London in the January window.

And he has now provided an explanation for his actions in an interview with Blick.

"When my shirt number lit up on the board of the fourth official, and then the fans reacted as they did, that hit me very much and stirred up my emotions," he said. "It was very painful and frustrating.

"For me, this reaction is still incomprehensible, especially with this vehemence and how extremely hostile it was. For as long as I can remember, the fans are an integral part of the sport. And I have a lot of respect from the beginning for the commitment and hardship fans take to help us players.

"If I get constructive criticism or even more vehement insults, I try to take them calmly and objectively. If we perform badly, you have to put up with it. I know that all too well from [former clubs] Basel and also from Monchengladbach. But what happened here is abnormal and excessive and there can be no justification for it.

"If you offend and insult your own captain, bring restlessness and a bad mood into the team you actually support, that makes no sense to me." 

Xhaka was not involved on Saturday as Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat by top-four rivals Leicester.

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