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ARSENAL boss Unai Emery has backed ‘quality’ Granit Xhaka to keep improving despite his error against Wolves today.
Xhaka, signed from Borussia Monchengladbach for £34m in 2016, has often been criticised throughout his Gunners career but has shown encouraging form under Emery this season.
But the Swiss midfielder made a crucial mistake again Wolves that lead to Ivan Cavaleiro’s opener at the Emirates in the 1-1 Premier League draw.
Despite his poor showing, Emery remains firmly behind Xhaka.
He said: “He has a big commitment to us and also character. His performance and his quality is good for us.
“We need everybody – also for me and for the team – to have more consistency but it’s something that comes with working in our way.
“I think the most important thing in this way is to be with confidence and improving little by little with lots of work. I think we are doing it and Xhaka is doing it also.”
Arsenal were poor in the first half against newly-promoted Wolves but improved after the break and secured a point thanks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s late equaliser.
Asked what he said at half-time, Emery added: “We spoke about these things.
“It was very difficult to find a goal or break through their lines defensively. Their transition was a very good transition.
“We didn’t want to concede another goal because it makes it more difficult, but our idea changed a little bit because we spoke at half-time.
“We needed to take more risks in the match. The risks were thinking that we could win but we also needed good balance in the transition against a good team with good transitions.
“I think the team played with character and we had chances to draw before our goal. We also continued to look for ways to create and to win the game but then we drew.
“In the last five or 10 minutes, we had the same idea with the risk but also thinking to win. At the end of the game we could say, ‘OK, the two teams both deserved it’.”
Arsenal, who are fifth in the Premier League table, take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium next Sunday.