Arsenal boss Unai Emery appeared in no mood to talk ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Vitoria on Wednesday afternoon.
The under-fire Gunners boss bizarrely refused to explain his thinking behind making Rob Holding captain in his pre-match interview on BT Sport ahead of kick-off in Portugal.
Emery confirmed on Tuesday he had removed Granit Xhaka from the role and when asked by a reporter why the defender got the armband for the European clash he merely responded: “Why? Because he is.”
Even when prompted to discuss 18-year-old wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli, who has scored seven goals in as many games for the Gunners, the Spaniard was blunt with his reply. “He’s young but he’s working very well,” he said.
When pushed to discuss just what exactly it is he likes about the forward, he simply said: “I think you can look at him and his quality.”
The pressure appears to have worn down Emery in what has been a testing week for the 48-year-old, following increased speculation over his future in north London as well as the fallout from the sorry Xhaka episode.
The Swiss midfielder left the field to a chorus of boos when he was substituted during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the end of last month.
He responded by cupping his ears as he walked towards the tunnel, before telling a section of supporters to ‘f*** off’ as he ripped his shirt off and left the pitch.
EMERY'S FULL INTERVIEW WITH BT SPORT
Question: In Rob you have another captain from the start of a match, how distracting has the issue of the captain’s role been and what’s happened with Granit in the last week or so?
Unai Emery: Today it’s Rob Holding and he’s perfect.
UE: Because I think. Why? Because he is.
Q: In terms of your other selections you’ve got Martinelli who plays through the middle from the start. Why’s he been able to start his career with Arsenal so strongly yet he’s so young?
UE: He’s young but he’s working very well.
Q: What do you like about him?
UE: I think you can look at him and his quality.
Q: Good luck tonight.
UE: Thank you.