Valencia's Gabriel says he 'deserved more' at Arsenal
Last Updated: 26/11/17 1:32pm
Former Arsenal defender Gabriel thinks he "deserved more of an opportunity" at the Emirates, and was unfairly blamed after bad results.
The centre-back made 64 appearances for the Gunners after joining from Villarreal in January 2015, but left in the summer to sign for Valencia.
He says it was "a dream" to play in the Premier League, despite not being fully satisfied with the experience.
"I deserved more of an opportunity," he told Sky Sports. "Sometimes I played because my team-mates were injured. I did play and sometimes even after playing well, I'd go home sad, given that I was only playing because my team-mate was injured. I don't think I deserved that.
"I think I had the ability to play and to start games because I deserved to do so, or because I did well in training, but that didn't happen.
"Sometimes I'd play three or four games and if Arsenal lost, I'd be dropped and everyone on the outside would say, "It's Gabriel's fault.
"That wasn't good for me. People thought, 'When that guy plays, Arsenal always lose.' When [Hector] Bellerin got injured, I played at right-back and Arsenal started to lose.
"I think I played in four or five games en route to the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and I played brilliantly in that game. I played really well and I received plenty of praise. Then I think we faced Tottenham away and lost, I gave away a penalty in that game and lost my place in the team. I didn't play again.
Sometimes I'd play three or four games and if Arsenal lost, I'd be dropped and everyone on the outside would say, "It's Gabriel's fault."
"I played in the last Premier League game because everyone was injured, all the centre-backs were out…I was quite down about how it went because of these reasons and it didn't sit well with me."
Gabriel has been a regular starter this season for Valencia as they have won nine of 12 games in La Liga.
Ahead of their clash with leaders Barcelona on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football, he said: "I feel very happy here, not just because I've been playing, but because of everything.
"Because I've been playing, my family is happy, the friends I have here. Everything is different here. Sometimes I play alongside [Jeison] Murillo, sometimes with [Ezequiel] Garay and sometimes it's Garay and Murillo. It's not because someone is injured, it's to rotate and give each player a chance.
"We're fit and we're all doing well. It's not a case of me being above Murillo or Murillo being above Garay, no, we're equal. There are no differences between us here."
If Valencia can win on Sunday they will close the gap on Barcelona at the top of the table to just a point.
And Gabriel says belief is high among the team after a positive start to the season.
"We had our doubts, but with each passing round of games, we think that we can go far," he said. "Things are going well. We don't want to say that we're going to fight for the title.
"Ahead of games we often speak among ourselves and say, "We can do it. We've got a great team. We have huge ability, we're young and we can improve every day.
"I think we can be in the fight if we keep this up and play well. I think we can battle it out towards the top of the table."
Watch Valencia v Barcelona live on Sky Sports Football on Sunday.