Ikel Arteta declined to comment on referee Paul Tierney’s performance after Arsenal’s 3-0 loss to Tottenham, saying he would be ‘suspended for six months’ if he aired his opinion on the official’s decisions .
Spurs took the lead through Harry Kane’s penalty after Tierney penalized Cedric Soares for a push on Heung-min Son before Rob Holding was shown a second yellow card after two fouls on the South Korean.
Kane added a second before the interval and Son made it 3-0 seconds after the restart as Spurs moved within a point of their fourth-placed rivals with two games remaining.
“If I speak my mind, I’m suspended for six months. I can’t lie, so I prefer not to say what I think,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“I can’t say what I think.
“I’m not unhappy with my players. I’m proud of my players. I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain their decisions. It’s a shame because such a great game was destroyed today.
“The decision has been made. We cannot change it. The referee has to make a decision in football.
Holding has again replaced Ben White, who was only fit enough for the bench after a hamstring injury, but will now be suspended for Monday’s game at Newcastle.
Arsenal will enter the game behind Spurs if Antonio Conte’s side win at home to Burnley on Sunday lunchtime.
“Take this risk [of bringing on Ben White] in the situation of the game made no sense,” added Arteta.
“Our target is Newcastle. This game belongs to history. He felt something so hopefully Ben will be fit and Gabriel will recover because we don’t have enough players in defense.
“This game is history. Now it’s Newcastle. It’s gone. It’s out of our hands and we have to accept it. Now we have to be the team you’ve seen from the start. You lose a football match under the conditions we lost them in. It’s painful. But we have a big game on Monday so we’ll try to beat them.
“We have two games to play each. It’s in our hands and now we have to do our job. We showed from the start in this game.
Arsenal end the season at home to Everton, while Spurs travel to relegated Norwich.