Neal Maupay has said that Arsenal players need to learn ‘humility’ and ‘got what they deserved’ after he inspired Brighton to a late 2-1 victory against the Gunners.
It was an eventful afternoon for the 23-year-old striker who was involved in the first-half injury to Bernd Leno who landed awkwardly after being nudged by Maupay in mid-air.
Leno angrily pointed at Maupay who would go on to score a winner five minutes into injury time for Brighton, as they came from behind to take a crucial three points.
Arsenal players surrounded Maupay at full-time, with Matteo Guendouzi having to be pulled away by his team-mates.
After the game, Maupay told BT Sport that some of the Arsenal players’ reactions to his incident with Leno was ‘not really’ justified.
He said: ‘At half-time I went to their manager Mikel Arteta to apologise, I never meant to injure the goalkeeper.
‘I just jumped to get the ball maybe and when he landed he just tweaked his knee so I apologise to the team and him as well.
‘I’ve been through a bad injury so I know it’s hard but i never meant to hurt him. But some of the Arsenal players need to learn humility maybe sometimes they’ve been talking a lot – first half, second half when they were 1-0 up and they got what they deserved.’
The injury to Leno is the latest for Arsenal after Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka were taken off during Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.
Despite the disappointment of the apparent serious nature to Leno’s injury, Arsenal took the lead through Pepe in the second-half.
Lewis Dunk equalised for Brighton before Maupay scored the winner in injury time with a cool finish over substitute goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Maupay’s role in the incident seemed to anger Leno’s team-mates, though manager Mikel Arteta said he didn’t believe Maupay intended to hurt his goalkeeper.
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand said: ‘I don’t think anybody can blame Maupay for the injury of Leno. It was a freak incident it wasn’t malicious at all.
‘He was just trying to ease him with a little bit of bodily contact but this is a contact sport. You don’t want to eradicate that from the game and say you can’t touch players.
‘Most of the players on that field will have done something worse than what Maupay did to Leno in that incident – because it’s a bad injury it looks worse than it is.’