Mikel Arteta gave an animated response when quizzed on a campaign to protect referees from abuse.
A campaign in the Daily Mail has been launched to try and protect matchday officials from undue abuse, listing the Arsenal boss among a number of culprits who have fueled the criticism that they face.
The Gunners have been at the centre of a number of refereeing controversies, most notably the VAR call that ruled in favour of Newcastle as Anthony Gordon secured a 1-0 win for the Magpies at St Jam.
When asked about the campaign, Arteta delivered an impassioned response, saying that emotion is what makes Premier League football so special.
Speaking in his press conference, Arteta said: “I saw the article, saw the campaign and saw my picture but I took it as a compliment because I’ve been here 20 years and I have supported the league, the players, the referees and I’ve promoted the game, always, in the best possible manner.
“I expect that if we want to continue to do that then you have to give your opinion and I have given hundreds of opinions, but if you want to isolate one in one moment to talk about something I believe and use it in a different way? I don’t think that’s fair.
“We live the game, you know, with emotion. I react when a player scores a goal, yeah? I react when a player gives the ball away, yeah? I react to an official when he wants to fly on the pitch and give treatment and I say ‘no!’
“We are constantly reacting. This is the game. We live a game that is passionate, you know, and we play to win and it has to happen and you have to react.
“If not, let’s sit here in the theatre, be on mute, and let’s see if this league and this game is as interesting.
“It won’t. That’s what makes it so special.”
Asked if it’s impossible to expect people to change their behaviour, Arteta said: “No, it is (possible), but we have to ask, what does that mean? What does it mean to ‘improve it’?”
Responding to the reporter’s suggestion about showing more respect, the Arsenal boss replied: “How? It’s like an onion and we talk superficially so we have to go to the bottom of it.
“What do we expect from each other? ‘This, this is good behavour’.
“If they tell me ‘these three things are going to help’ then believe me, I’ll try my best to help, for sure, but we have to be detailed.
“Don’t talk globally about one situation three months later because we have to go to the history of why we all say how we behave because I can be really good here today because of three years ago.”