Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has slammed his outfield teammates for their “lack of focus” in a staunch defence of under-fire manager Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners are winless in six Premier League games and a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Wednesday evening left them languishing in 15th.
Individual errors have cost Arsenal dearly in recent weeks as they have struggled in front of goal and seen three players sent off in their last five matches.
The latest red card was shown to centre-back Gabriel for two bookable offences against the Saints, leaving the Gunners to play 30 minutes a man down as they battled to win a point.
Leno took aim at his teammates’ ill-discipline as he sought to exonerate Arteta over Arsenal’s meagre tally of four wins from 13 games.
“That’s not an issue at all,” Leno told Sky Sport Germany when quizzed on criticism of Arteta. “The coach can do the least thing for us being in this situation.
“If you look at how we sometimes walked around on the pitch, then the only fault lies with the players. I have to say that honestly. We get red cards, make mistakes, are disorganised.
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“These are things that we have clearly addressed a thousand times. In the end, that’s a lack of focus among the players.
“The coach is not an issue in the dressing room, and there is no criticism of him. We criticise ourselves and the players know that they are responsible.
“We actually have quality, but suddenly this break came. But nobody can attach it to just one person.”
Do Arsenal have a problem with discipline? Have your say here.
Leno also sent a stern warning to Granit Xhaka after the midfielder was sent off early in the second half of the defeat to Burnley for grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck.
The German added: “Granit knows best that he made a mistake. Nobody has to tell him that. The coach made it clear, of course, but that’s that for us.
“Everyone is frustrated right now. He wasn’t in control of the situation.
“It is not pointed to anyone internally, everyone has screwed up here at one point or another.
“Mistakes like this happen, but they shouldn’t be repeated. Even after being sent off, we still had the chance to equalise and win the game.”
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