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EPL: Emery counters Xhaka over cause of Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Watford

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Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, has called for his players to be mentally stronger after captain Granit Xhaka claimed they were “too scared” during the 2-2 draw with Watford.

The Gunners led 2-0 at half-time at Vicarage Road thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but conceded twice after the break.

First, Sokratis Papastathopoulos managed to play a short goal-kick straight to Gerard Deulofeu, who diverted the ball onto Tom Cleverley for the midfielder to fire home.

Then David Luiz gave away a penalty when he tripped Hornets substitute Roberto Pereyra, who duly slotted in from the spot.

“No-one wanted the ball. In the end we are happy to take a point,” Xhaka told Sky Sports.

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“We didn’t show our game in the second half, we were too scared.

“Every team in the Premier League is strong enough to score but you have to keep calm, to show good character, to be mentally strong. We weren’t today.”

When told of Xhaka’s remarks, Emery said: “Maybe it’s a very individual feeling.

“I think in football you never need to be scared, you need to take that moment as an experience for you and for us.

“But really I can feel the players, I can feel me the same, sometimes when we were struggling, the possibility to don’t achieve our good consequence with our game plan.

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“But we need to be strong in our mentality, but not for the players, for us, and to create our way, working and improving the things like today that happened in the second half.”

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Don Omajemite

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