Mikel Arteta responds after Barcelona boss Xavi said Arsenal’s intensity was ‘not normal’
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Mikel Arteta has hit back at Xavi after the Barcelona manager said Arsenal’s intensity was not normal during their friendly clash.
The Gunners were looking to produce a much better performance after they were beaten 2-0 by Erik ten Hag's Manchester United last weekend.
Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ferran Torres were on the score sheet for the Catalan giants.
After the match, Barcelona boss Xavi admitted that he complained to Arteta, he said: “I said to Mikel at the end of the game, it was like a Champions League tie with the intensity they put in.
“It was not normal for a friendly, but I understand everyone wants to win. For us, it was our first friendly and we went into it off the back of loads of players having had a bug.”
Arteta was then asked about Xavi’s words, to which the Gunners boss replied: “At the end of the day, football belongs to the players.
“We’re playing in front of 70,000 people and as soon as the game starts they’ll rebel against the coaches as soon as the game starts and they’ll do what they want.”
Arteta added: “As soon as there’s the first foul of the game they’ll start getting intense and they’ll start playing.”
Arsenal have now finished their tour of the US and will face French Ligue 1 side Monaco on Wednesday before taking on Manchester City in the FA Community Shield next Sunday.
The Gunners will begin their 23/24 Premier League campaign with a home match against Nottingham Forest on 12 August.