Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi has responded defiantly to the intense criticism he received during a turbulent campaign at the Emirates Stadium.
The German international has been the scapegoat for much of the Gunners' poor defensive displays this year, with Unai Emery's team conceding more goals than every other side in the top half of the Premier League bar Manchester United and West Ham United. However, the World Cup winner has insisted that he and the other defenders were judged unfairly due to the nature of their role.
Mustafi has looked like a liability for Arsenal for much of the 2018/19 season, but has been included in the squad to face Chelsea in the Europa League final this Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old claims those at the back are too readily condemned for mistakes, stating (as reported by The Mirror): "For me personally, [the criticism] is not getting to me because our job as defenders is to try not to concede goals.
"But, if you make 90% of your job and in the other 10% the opponent scores a goal, people forget about the 90%. If, in the end of the season, you made 70 points it is for a reason. I don’t think that if the back is not doing his job you would make 70 points.
"If a striker misses a goal or a penalty or whatever, you get a new opportunity five or ten minutes later," he continued. "For us defenders, if you make one mistake and they score, even if in five minutes you save something on the line, people still won’t talk about it. You get to live with it because it is part of our job."
Discussing the impact of Emery's style of play on the team's fortunes, Mustafi said: "We are a team who in a lot of games want to press up high and that gives teams opportunities to score goals against us.
"It gives teams space to try to break on us. You have to go through all the details in all the games and see what was wrong. Then obviously we wanted to not let the other team score.
But it is a football game – other teams want to score as well," the former Valencia man concluded.
Source : 90min