Granit Xhaka responds to Patrice Evra criticism that Arsenal are 'mentally weak'

"A lot of people they speak too much. It is not the first time he has spoken something about us."

Granit Xhaka during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Arsenal at Bramall Lane
Image: Granit Xhaka accused Patrice Evra of "speaking too much"

Granit Xhaka has hit back at Arsenal's critics, including Patrice Evra, by insisting their belief that the Gunners are mentally weak away from home is wide of the mark.

Unai Emery's side missed the chance to go third in the Premier League table on Monday when they were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield United.

The loss at Bramall Lane was a fifth in the last 10 away games in the league on a night when Arsenal's common failings were again on view.

The performance prompted familiar criticism of Arsenal's mentality, with former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra describing the Gunners as "babies" on Monday Night Football.

Sheffield United v Arsenal - Premier League - Bramall Lane
Arsenal's Calum Chambers (left) and David Luiz (centre) 1:09
Patrice Evra says Arsenal lack a winning mentality and have failed to change in the last 10 years.

Xhaka said after the game: "We have to stop about mental [strength] bulls*** like this. For me, it is the same whether you play home or away - you have to win and show big character and a good game and not to always find the same excuse."

Addressing Evra's comments, he added: "A lot of people they speak too much. It is not the first time he has spoken something about us.

"I have a lot of respect for him as he was a great player but you have to be careful what you say. But it is not only him - a lot of people speak a lot of bulls*** about us. It's always the same.

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"For me it is strange as they were in the same situation as us, they were players as well. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not always good but every week they speak bulls*** like this every week.

preview image 2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Sheffield United's win against Arsenal in the Premier League.

"I tell you the honest truth, I'm not interested in what people say and speak. We have to speak in our group to improve things and work hard and not listen to these people."

Sheffield United's winning goal came after half an hour when Lys Mousset turned the ball home from close range after Jack O'Connell had headed Oliver Norwood's corner back across goal.

Xhaka said: "I think we did a lot of good things and they had one chance, and it was a goal.

"But it's too easy, you shouldn't lose a game because of a corner or a free-kick. We have to improve but there were some good things as well. In the end if you want to be top four then you have to beat Sheffield."

Paul Merson: Arsenal defeat felt 'normal'

Speaking in his weekly Merson Says column, the former Arsenal forward felt like the defeat at Sheffield United was normal and accepted.

"It was normal, wasn't it? I don't know what anybody expected. This is Arsenal now. It's just lacklustre. There's no urgency. People say they wouldn't know if this was Arsene Wenger's team, I don't know about that because defensively they looked comfortable. David Luiz just played in first gear.

Unai Emery
Image: Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in 24 away games in the Premier League under Unai Emery

"But going forward, they've got no guile. It looked like Chris Wilder knew exactly what he wanted from his side. But with Arsenal and Unai Emery, it was almost like: 'See you at half-time and full-time.'

"I kept thinking: 'What would this Arsenal side look like if Chris Wilder was in charge?' It's accepted. Nobody is going to work this morning and saying: 'Oh my God, did you see Arsenal getting beat by Sheffield United?' Those days are gone. It's accepted through the club, the fans, the manager, everyone."

Read more of Paul Merson's thoughts here

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