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Shokodran Mustafi responds to criticism amid at him ahead of Europa League final

Image via The Independent

Arsenal player Shkodran Mustafi has been a subject of criticism this season because of his mistakes but in an interview the striker insisted that it’s unfair.

The 27-year-old has struggled at the Emirates since his £35m move from Valencia in 2016 and made a series of high-profile mistakes.

But Mustafi says Arsenal’s defenders get a raw deal as every mistake is highlighted while the strikers can score another goal if they miss a sitter.

Mustafi said: “For me personally, it is not getting to me because our job as defenders is to try not to concede goals, but if you make 90 per cent of your job and in the 10 per cent the opponent scores a goal, people forget about the 90 per cent.

“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 you go into the game without the defence and only with attacking players I am not sure you are going to make 70 points.

“If a striker misses a goal or a penalty or whatever, you get a new opportunity five or 10 minutes later.

“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.

“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.

“When we try to play out of the back, people say, ‘Why are they doing this? Why aren’t they just kicking it out from the back?’ But that is not our game.

“You are not going to win without an identity and that was how we wanted to play. We wanted to press high and score goals. Then obviously we wanted to not let the other team score.

“But it is a football game – other teams want to score as well. At the end of the day, we didn’t reach the position we wanted to reach. That is a disappointing fact.

“But we still have the opportunity in the Europa League to reach the goal we wanted – and a trophy as well.”

However, Mustafi also insists that even though Chelsea’s players may have more trophies between them, Arsenal might therefore have more hunger to win silverware.

He added: “For a player of course winning a trophy is very important because that is what you are counting at the end of your career.

“You are not counting how many balls you have kicked, you are counting how many trophies you won, so that’s huge.

“I don’t know if you studied well but in our team not a lot of players played in a club level final like this, so for us it is huge. We are going to go there and try to win this game.

“After, of course, it would be nice to win and to play in the Champions League, but first of all we are happy to be in the final and we are going to go with everything to try and win it.

“A lot of players, experienced, who have played a lot of finals or a team which is motivated for their first game. It depends how you see it.

“I think it’s more positive when you have no experience because you go there, you are looking forward to it. It’s a final, you give everything and you are looking forward to win it. For us it’s more positive than negative.”

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