‘Temper things a wee bit’ – Graeme Souness sends advice to Mikel Arteta after VAR rant

'Those criticising him do not seem to have considered the bewildering rationale that lay behind allowing that goal to stand.'

‘Temper things a wee bit’ – Graeme Souness sends advice to Mikel Arteta after VAR rant
Mikel Arteta Graeme Souness
Graeme Souness sympathises with Mikel Arteta (Photo: Getty)

Graeme Souness says he has complete sympathy with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta over his rant on referees, calling their decision making ‘bewildering’

However, the Liverpool legend believes Arteta from now on shouldn’t show his frustration so publicly.

Much has been made about Arteta’s comments on Premier League officials after Newcastle were controversially awarded a goal in their win against Arsenal last Saturday.

The Gunners’ subsequent statement, which backed their manager and called out the PGMOL, has been widely criticised by pundits, but Souness is part of a minority that has backed what the manager and club said.

‘I had sympathy with Mikel Arteta over his reaction to a flagrantly poor refereeing decision last weekend. I’ve been in his shoes,’ the former manager wrote in his column for the MailOnline.

‘The conclusion that Anthony Gordon’s goal for Newcastle should stand was plainly wrong to anyone with an ounce of knowledge of the game. And of course, Mikel was having to come to terms with the fact that those officials were equipped with the most sophisticated video technology known to man.

‘You have to ask yourself how hard it must have been for him when he walked into his press conference, given that he had half an hour to calm down – yet still went for the officials and their decision-making in a big way. I can well imagine how he felt. I would have been boiling.

‘It’s all very well for people to say, “Arteta’s let his great club down because they have a reputation for class”, but I don’t see it like that. Yes, for me Arsenal have always been one of the classiest clubs.

‘But I saw Arteta as a man whose frustrations were so enormous that he just couldn’t deal with it in the cold, calculated way that all the experts seem to think he should have done. Those criticising him do not seem to have considered the bewildering rationale that lay behind allowing that goal to stand.’

That all said, Souness does believe that Arteta and Arsenal may have a gone a little too far, and is concerned that it could have a negative effect on his team if he continues to speak out so much about the referees.

Arsenal statement on Mikel Arteta's comments:

Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening.

We’d also like to acknowledge the huge effort and performance from our players and travelling supporters at St James’ Park.

The Premier League is the best league in the world with the best players, coaches and supporters, all of whom deserve better. PGMOL urgently needs to address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies.

We support the ongoing efforts of Chief Refereeing Officer, Howard Webb and would welcome working together to achieve the world-class officiating standards our league demands.

He added: ‘The noise and controversy surrounding Arsenal last weekend is not something you want, as a manager.

‘I love passion and I was passionate, both as a player and a manager, but I think Mikel would be wise to temper things a wee bit. If I were advising him I would say: “Remain as passionate as you are — but behind closed doors”.

‘If he’s going to be sensitive to every decision, it will give lesser players a crutch to lean on. You have to keep that fire, that frustration, that passion, in your dressing room because, given the scrutiny of the media today, Mikel is being subjected to ridicule at times.

‘Of course, it’s not so easy to put that theory into practice, as a manager, in the heat of competition.’

MORE : Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou makes history with third straight Premier League award

MORE : Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino backs Mikel Arteta for ‘defending his club’ over Arsenal VAR controversy

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.