Mikel Arteta refuses to take shots at Antonio Conte’s criticism
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has refused to be drawn in by the criticism he faced from Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte at the end of a fiery north London derby.
Spurs brushed aside their rivals 3-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to rekindle hopes of propelling the Gunners to a fourth place in the Premier League.
But the drama didn’t end on the pitch as, after Arteta appeared to blame referee Paul Tierney for the result, Conte claimed the Spaniard ‘complains a lot’ and should ‘focus more on his game’. team”.
Rather than continue the war of words, Arteta indicated he was taking Conte’s advice when asked if he had a response to the Italian’s remarks ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Newcastle on Monday.
“I’m fully focused on Newcastle,” Arteta said. “We have a huge game to play against Newcastle on Monday and our focus is all on energy.”
Arsenal, who are a point clear of Tottenham, are still in control of their own destiny as wins over the Magpies and Everton next weekend would guarantee Champions League football next season.
There will be scrutiny of how Arsenal react after such a humiliating setback earlier this week, but Arteta has been enthusiastic about the attitude of his players since then.
“That match was lost and we were disappointed, but now I’m looking forward to it,” Arteta said.
“We all know everything we’ve been through throughout the season and how we’ve had to fight to be in this position.
“I’m (lucky) to have them, how they hold up (under pressure) under any difficulty, how eager they are to play on Monday, how excited they are for the challenge ahead.”
Arsenal will be without suspended Rob Holding at St James’ Park following his Tottenham expulsion while fellow defenders Ben White (hamstring) and Gabriel (thigh) are uncertain.