Mikel Arteta refused to dive to deep into the performance of the match officials after Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa this afternoon, instead deciding to remain ‘on mute’.
To kick off the post-match press conference, Arteta was questioned on the possible red card for Ezri Konsa after a last-man foul on Bukayo Saka and the penalty shout for Alexandre Lacazette.
Konsa was shown a yellow card in the 31st minute for his challenge on the England international, coming away fairly easy considering that Saka looked to have been through on goal.
The incident between Lacazette and former long-serving Arsenal ace Emi Martinez came in the 57th minute, with a tussle between the two resulting in a Villa free-kick and not a penalty for the Gunners.
Arteta was quizzed on what he told the match officials at full-time, but the Spaniard wished to ‘keep’ that to himself and ‘stay on mute’ regarding those conversations.
The refereeing was mentioned towards the end of the press conference as well, with Arteta admitting he was left feeling ‘really animated’ after a ‘few decisions’ and especially one ‘big’ one he wouldn’t name.
Arteta insisted that ‘regardless of the decisions’, this was a game that the Gunners should have won and that the performance from the officials was ‘not an excuse’.
See More: Video: Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe left floored and stunned after ball hits face against Aston Villa
Both sets of Mikel Arteta’s comments on the refereeing during Arsenal vs Aston Villa as the gaffer took a leaf out of Jose Mourinho’s book to help avoid a fine…
From ‘I prefer not to speak’ we present to you Mikel Arteta in ‘I prefer to stay on mute’ ??? pic.twitter.com/I56bXzUaWq
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) February 6, 2021
“No, I keep that between me and them.”
When pressed on the matter:
“Again, I prefer to stay on mute on that.”
The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace had a similar question on the officials later in the press conference, with Arteta responding in this manner:
“As you could see, I was really animated for a few decisions and one big decision that I will not discuss here.”
“It is what is is. It’s not an excuse. Regardless of the decisions, we have to win the game. It’s as simple as that.”
Sam Wallace’s second question was very interesting as the reporter tried to gauge Arteta’s thoughts on ‘consistency’, as the Gunners boss was himself sent off in a Premier League tie for what Konsa did back in October 2013.
The manner in which Arteta spoke was somewhat funny to see from a neutral perspective, as the Spaniard came up with his own rendition of Jose Mourinho’s famed ‘I prefer not to speak’ line.
Mourinho coined that iconic term in March 2014, in his second spell as Chelsea manager when the Blues were on the end of two red cards – a further for Jose as well – as they lost to Aston Villa.
In that post-match interview with Sky Sports, Mourinho exclaimed “I prefer not to speak, if I speak I am in big trouble”, in an effort to avoid scrutiny from the FA for bringing the game into ‘disrepute’.
Comments of this nature, which Mourinho reeled off earlier this season and once in all it’s historic glory last season, are usually utilised by managers as they effectively avoid the risk of fines from the FA.