Mikel Arteta says his decision to substitute Nuno Tavares after half an hour in their defeat against Nottingham Forest was to improve the team.
Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat to Forest in the third round of the FA Cup as Lewis Grabban came off the bench to score a late winner for the home team.
The Gunners were not at their the best but Tavares had a particularly tough afternoon and was substituted after only 34 minutes for Kieran Tierney.
The 21-year-old star was clearly not visibly happy as he made his way past his manager and threw his gloves to the floor in frustration.
Unsurprisingly, Arteta was asked about the decision after the game but stood by his brutal actions despite the possible fallout that was to come.
‘I just did it to try to improve the performance of the team,’ said the Spanish manager.
When asked if he has considered the story the substitution would create, Arteta said: ‘I understand that but I have to make the decision to try to improve the performance of the team when it’s not going in any other direction.’
And when pressed further on what Tavares did to be taken off, he said: ‘I don’t want to talk about any individuals.’
Arsenal now turn their attention to their only other chance of silverware this season when they take on Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final clash against Liverpool on Thursday.
Arteta will be expecting much more from his team than the way they performed in the game and conceded his side needed to apologise to the supporters for their poor performance.
‘They won, they scored a goal and we didn’t,’ Arteta said. ‘We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it. ‘I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out.
‘Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it.’