|Desc||A liability who Arsenal will be desperately regretting not offloading to Inter Milan when they had the chance. Unreliable and error-prone, Emery does not rely on the German in a back-four and the club will be keen to move him on, even if his value has dipped dramatically|
|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Arsenal FC|
2019 09 19 Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi says he will not go ‘to war’ with Arsenal over his future] My father, who is my agent, spoke to the club. I am an Arsenal player and still have two years left on my contract. I‘ve never been someone who begins a war when something doesn‘t work out. I always said: If it is possible, I am open to take the next step. If not, I keep playing my football. The manager [Emery] said he sees me the same way he sees every player in the team. That‘s why I played today and that‘s it. We are going to see what the future holds
[Quizzed on the prospect of a possible move to the Bundesliga] I won‘t say, that it isn‘t a thing but I am always what makes sense for me. I got a wife and two kids, so they have to agree as well. When a German club shows interest and it suits me, then I am open for it.
2019 10 08 Retrieve
[Mustafi opens up on dip in form and social media criticism] In the first two years after my move to Arsenal in 2016, things went very well for me. But shortly after Christmas 2018 there was a kink. I’ve made a few mistakes and they’ve created a mess that I’ve never experienced before
[One game in particular where Mustafi endured a torrid night was during a 5-1 defeat to Liverpool in December 2018] I had missed three weeks injured and then went into the game without training with the team because the coach needed me. At half-time it was 4-1, I had a few bad moments and injured myself again.
Afterwards, I got a lot of negative comments from Arsenal fans on Instagram and Twitter, and articles were written in which I was harshly criticised. I’m self-critical enough to realise that I made mistakes. I can also deal with tough criticism. But the criticism has become escalated and irrational. I have become a target. At some point, people even blamed me for a defeat I had not played in at all. There were days when I really doubted something about myself. But at some point I realised that I am mentally strong.
Something my wife said helped me a lot: ‘If you were really as bad as people are making you out, you would never have been a world champion and Arsenal player, something must have brought you here’. Since then I can handle it better.
Football has become more inhumane. Social media has also contributed to this, because anyone can comment, without names. People can unload their frustrations directly on us. It is no longer about the sport, but only to discredit someone to get as many likes as possible. I would like to see more restrictions in the future. What’s on the internet will never disappear. And I’m worried that this will eventually affect my children.
2019 11 06 Retrieve
[Mustafi felt the Gunners could have defended better to prevent Vitoria equalising] I would love to score in the 90th minute. When you score a goal and you still have to play against a team like today, they threw everything up front, sometimes it’s not organised any more and they throw a lot of bodies into the box and they keep crossing. I think we could have dealt with [the danger] a little bit earlier, instead of letting them cross again. In the end, you have to accept it and move forward and take the positive things.
You have to say they are a good side, they’re in the Europa League for a reason, they’re quite compact. We played today with a back three and we needed some time to get the rhythm in. In the first half, we didn’t do it as we wanted; the second half was better, better rhythm, better passing. We just need to stay calm. Everyone wants to show and give everything and sometimes, when you’re over-motivated, it’s difficult to deal with that. At the end of the day, we need to stay calm, play our football, believe in ourselves and then in the final third try and do it a little more intelligently, with a little more accuracy in our final pass
2019 11 28 Retrieve
[When asked specifically whether the team would be looking to put in a performance against Frankfurt to ease the pressure on Emery] First of all we play for the club. We play for each other because we are a team, the boys in the dressing room and the coaching staff are all in the same boat. If the coach is under pressure, the players are too
2020 01 16 Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi feels he has been unfairly singled out for criticism at times] Did I feel like a target at times? I wouldn’t say a target because it’s very hard if you say that. I don’t think the world turns around me or that I’m the main point of the world. But it was difficult sometimes to understand because even in a few bad games where I wasn’t involved, I was the one to blame.
It gets a little bit frustrating to read those comments but at the end of the day, you have to be professional and I tried to be as professional as I can. Sometimes you read comments and you really disagree, and you want to say something but then you just leave it because you want to stay professional. The next day you’ve got training so you’ve just got to take all that energy and just use it on training and trying to improve yourself, rather than just on social media.
This season I’ve been playing mainly in the Europa League and the cup competitions, so I’ve focused just on doing my job and trying to produce things that the coaching staff ask for me to do on the pitch to show that I’m ready for the team. No matter what’s going on, I’ve just been trying to work and become the player that I was before - and better.
I just put my head down when all the criticism came at me and worked hard. I just closed my ears and focused on the work, and I think the fans kind of appreciated that. I just worked my socks off to come back again. I think the fans have seen in the last few games that I’ve played that I’m someone who has always tried to give everything on the pitch. Of course, I made mistakes like everyone else makes because we are professionals but we are humans first
Nobody makes errors because they like to, it’s just something that happens. I’ve always wanted to win and give everything for Arsenal, for my team-mates. I think they appreciate that. Next for me and the club is to bounce back. At the moment things are not going the way we want them to go. It’s going to be tough but I think we have the mental strength and the quality as a team to bounce back and to win the games we need to.
It’s a bit like it was in my situation where for me, things were not going very well. We just need to stay united as a team, a club, with our fans. The people who want the best for Arsenal, we have to stay united and bounce back together. It’s the only way we’re going to improve. It’s not a time to point fingers at each other, we have to work together to bounce back and hopefully we’re going to enjoy the rest of the season
2020 01 19 Retrieve
[Mustafi: Arsenal must forget about the table and focus on improving] It is a game that you can come a little bit closer with. I think when you are first or second in the league, you always want to look at the table and you enjoy looking at the table, but I think at the moment it is not important to look at the table. For us, it is important to just work, try to put on the training ground and in games the things we get told from the boss. I feel that everyone is trusting him and the idea that he has, which is that he wants to play football. That is something that is very important and now it is all about trying to do it for 90 minutes.
The team’s goals are to win games. We have a lot of games still to go and at the end of the day you will see where you will end up. Of course, from the beginning of the season you have everything in your hands because then everyone starts with zero points. But at the moment we do not have everything in our hands. The only thing we have in our hands is to go from game to game and try to win the games. Then when the teams above us drop points we can be lucky enough to maybe overtake them. But we have to concentrate and focus on things that we have in our own hands, and that’s only our games that we are playing.
[Musatfi has credited Arteta for bringing a clarity in thinking to a squad that had been left confused under Unai Emery] It is important to have him [Arteta] because he knows exactly what this team needs. Arsenal has always been a team that wants to play football, that wants to play with personality. That is exactly what he wants and I think he has done a good job putting the team together as every player knows what he is doing. At times in the previous games, we had a little bit of a problem where we were out there and we struggled a little bit with our structure. Since he came in we are very well structured
It is football. It is not tennis when everyone can do whatever they want. Just because you have 11 or 18 individually good players does not mean it is going to work. For us, it was important to get someone in like Mikel that knows exactly what he wants from each player in each position. I think this is the way we can perform only when someone like him comes in and tells us exactly what he wants and stick to the plan. It does not matter against who we face, we play our game and I think that is the most important thing when you go out and you know exactly what you have to do. It makes everything a lot easier
2020 01 20 Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi considers Arteta have them heading in the right direction] It is not tennis when everyone can do whatever they want. Just because you have 11 or 18 individually good players does not mean it is going to work. It was important to get someone in like Mikel that knows exactly what he wants from each player in each position. This is the way we can perform only when someone like him comes in and tells us exactly what he wants and stick to the plan – it makes everything a lot easier
2020 01 20b Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi says Mesut Ozil enjoying himself again under Arteta] Mesut is a good friend of mine and I know him very well. I knew him before his time at Arsenal and I know what he is capable of. For him, and a lot of other players, the change that we had with the boss helped him a lot, as it helped a lot of other players.
When the team is performing well, it is easier when everyone knows how we want to play. You can focus on your job and you don’t have to care about a lot of other things because everyone is doing their job and knows what to do. You can focus on yourself. For him, now, because we want to play football, we want to play attacking football, it suits him. He enjoys himself and when he is playing like he has in the last few games it helps the team
[Mustafi is looking to take things one game at a time in an ongoing bid to break out of a mid-table slump] We have a lot of games still to go this season and we just need to go from game to game. From the beginning of the season, you have everything in your hands because then everyone starts with zero points. But at the moment we do not have everything in our hands. When you are first or second, you want to look at the table - and you enjoy looking at it - but at the moment it is not important to look at the table
2020 02 04 Retrieve
[Mustafi would’ve considered retirement if he ever doubted his ability at Arsenal] At the end of the day we know how it is in football. You always get your chances, you always get the possibilities to go again and go again and when you start thinking like you said, I think it’s when you retire from football. It’s not the way a professional should think. For me, it’s always been the same, I always try to put my personal stuff behind me and be there for the team. Always when the team needed me I wanted to be there, not only in the games but as well in training. It’s easy to be professional when things are going good but I think it’s the same and important when things are not going so good personally, to be professional. At the end of the day, we are here to work and we are here to play for a big club. I always wanted to be ready and be there and whenever the team or the coach needs me I always say I’m going to be there
[My injury] looked very bad on the screen against Bournemouth. Our doctors are very careful with injuries, they try to protect us as much as possible so they try to make me go safety first. But then after I received the scan I think it was clear that with a painkiller I could go back on the pitch
2020 02 21 Retrieve
[Mustafi open to Arsenal stay after incredible turnaround under Arteta] Why not? I have always taken things day by day. We had a game on Thursday, we have the next important game at the weekend and as long as I am playing for a club I always gave everything until the last minute. When I decide, or when the club and I decide, it is going to continue I am happy, if not then we have to go forward
[He played a starring role in Greece on Thursday night and is almost certain to start again on Sunday when Everton visit Emirates Stadium in the Premier League] If you think things are over for you, then you should retire. That’s not like you should think as a professional. You always get the opportunities and a team has more than 20 players for a reason. There is a lot of competition, there are a lot of games and everyone in the team is needed. The main thing for me was to be professional because as long as you stay professional, you have no fault for anything. Stay professional, wait until you get your next opportunity and then obviously you have to take it
[Despite that positive mindset, Mustafi admits that it was tough to deal with not being included in matchday squads during the early months of the season] It has been difficult. But I am a person who tries to see more the positive things than the negatives. I think that helped me a lot. Having my family around me – my kids, my wife – because life is not only football. That’s something I kept remembering to myself. Being in training every day, playing a lot of games, you get a lot of attention but still at the end of the day I am a father of two kids and I try to focus on this as well
[Far from being criticised, they are now being praised - with Mustafi even having his name chanted by the Arsenal fans in recent weeks. And for a player who has had a difficult relationship with his own supporters in the past, that is something to savour] It is always important to have a good relationship with the fans. For me the main thing was to be professional, to always be there for my team-mates and for the club and then obviously when you play well they appreciate your performances. But it makes it easier when you have the fans behind you, back supporting you, so I am happy for that
2020 03 27 Retrieve
[Mustafi giving no thought to Arsenal future during coronavirus crisis] We are in a situation where everyone is worried about the current situation and not so much about their personal future. It is difficult to think about my personal future. None of us know what will happen next and when we can play again. So, once we have overcome this difficult time and are back on the pitch, I can think about questions like that. At the moment I don’t think about it. Also the club has more important stuff to deal with right now than my future
2020 05 15 Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi has lauded Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta] He’s a little like a professor. He knows exactly where he wants the players to be when on the ball and how to react when losing the ball. It’s very special. When I pass I am usually only focused on where to be if we lose the ball but he wants me to contribute offensively too. So we constantly need to make an option for the player on the ball. When you are 28 and you play in different countries with other coaches you think you know everything but then he came in and there are things I’ve never known before
Sometimes we don’t realise what a difficult job it is. From 25 players maybe 20 agree with the coach and five still think we should play different. Since Mikel has come in he has 25 players on board and this is not easy to achieve. Everyone understands and everything he says makes sense. There is nothing we can complain about. Everyone has benefited, even Mesut
There is so much talk and opinions on this but I’m just looking forward to playing. Germany has done very well with the situation. That’s why they can start playing but it’s very difficult to explain what I think. I don’t know difference between Germany and England. Some think it’s good, some don’t. For me, the main thing is we have to think of the safety
2020 05 21 Retrieve
[Shkodran Mustafi says Mikel Arteta’s arrival at Arsenal has benefitted everyone at the club] Each one of us has benefitted from this arrival. He has brought a very clear identity and a very clear idea of how he wants to play football, but at the same time he gives you space to make your own decisions because you are on the pitch and you know exactly what the coach wants from you. I think as well he has been listening into the changing room and listening to the players to find out why things were not working out before. Sometimes we don’t realise how difficult it is to be a coach because you have so many people that you have to make follow your idea. Sometimes players are happy, sometimes players that don’t play are not so happy, so it is not easy to have all on board and all agreeing with your ideas and philosophy. But he has managed to do that and in this short period it has been something very difficult to do, but he has done it. That is why we created a bit of momentum and we are heading in the right direction. I have benefitted from his arrival and his coaching. When you are 28 years old, you think you have heard everything and then a coach comes in and you still learn and hear things that you have never heard before. He has been incredible since his arrival. He has shown his aura and his personality just shows that he is so convinced of the way he thinks football should be and how he wants his team to play
2020 06 16 Retrieve
[Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi says that is interested in a return to Germany someday] The Bundesliga is always interesting for me. In terms of sport, it has made great progress. It’s also my home. In the current situation, it is difficult to predict how the transfer phase will go. Many are amazed at the level there. In England, they were very surprised at how well the Bundesliga managed to restart. The Premier League has certainly taken this as an example