Mikel Arteta did not want to comment on Rob Holding’s red card in Arsenal’s 3-0 loss to north London rivals Tottenham on Thursday, insisting he would be ‘suspended’ if he said what he thought.
The Gunners were thrashed by their most bitter of enemies and are now only one point clear of them in the Premier League table with two games remaining.
Harry Kane opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Cedric fouled Son Heung-min while defending a cross, before Holding received his second booking for elbowing the South Korean in the face when on the break.
Speaking to Sky Sports post-game, Arteta refused to be drawn in on referee Paul Tierney’s performance.
“If I say what I think, then I am suspended for six months. I don’t like lying. I prefer not to say what I think. I cannot say what I think. I am so proud of my players. A beautiful game was destroyed,” Arteta said.
In his press conference after the game, Arteta hung around for just a few minutes and was similarly as dismissive when asked to discuss Holding’s sending off.
“I cannot do it [talk about the referees],” he continued. “I’m really proud of my players and I’m looking forward to Monday night. I want to be on the touchline on Monday night. I don’t want to be suspended.
“We wanted to play a game. We were so excited to play. You could see how we started. It was a beautiful occasion and it was destroyed.”
Arsenal could have dropped to fifth by the time they face Newcastle away on Monday night with Tottenham in action at home to Burnley on Sunday.