Mikel Arteta did not hold back after Arsenal’s Premier League defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion, revealing he felt the players did not compete at the level required.
Arsenal edged the first half with teenager Bukayo Saka hitting the crossbar in the opening minutes but lacked the clinical edge in the final third to take the lead.
It took a moment of magic from Ivorian attacker Nicolas Pépé to break the deadlock but Brighton hit back through defender Lewis Dunk before Neal Maupay snatched victory at the death with a well-taken goal.
Maupay had earlier been involved with a collision with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, which saw the German needing lengthy treatment on the pitch before leaving the field on a stretcher.
Leno had a heated exchange with Maupay as he left the action and there was another confrontation at the full-time whistle with Maupay and Guendouzi involved.
“It doesn’t look good but we don’t know anything yet,” Arteta said to BT Sport.
“I haven’t seen the actions again. I always believe players never have the intention to hurt anybody and I’m sure he didn’t have the intention to do that.”
Despite the injury to Leno, Arsenal put themselves in a good position to take all three points and Arteta wasn’t happy with how they surrendered the lead.
“The fact we missed so many chances, the fact that we gave them the first goal and we didn’t compete in the second goal,” he added.
“Very difficult one to take, it was unacceptable the way we lost the game.
“We need to try to lift the players.
“There’s a lot of things that we’ve done really well, but we don’t compete.
“At this level you can’t give the goals that we give away. It’s impossible.
“I know that we are a very, very young team but in the Premier League if you make two mistakes like this, you lost two goals.
“We can’t accept that.”
The Gunners, who have now lost both of their games since the restart, are next in action on Thursday at Southampton – the third of a four-game away run.