LONDON — Arsenal coach Unai Emery has said he will not allow footage that showed star players allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide at a party become a distraction.
Speaking after the 1-0 win over Huddersfield at the Emirates Stadium, Emery praised his team for maintaining their focus.
Lucas Torreira scored an 82nd-minute goal winner as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 21 matches in their first game since The Sun published images of Arsenal stars appearing to inhale nitrous oxide in August.
The club issued a statement in which they said the players would be reminded of their responsibilities, but Emery said discussion about what happened would remain internal.
“Maybe you are speaking about a problem outside here,” he said. “But for me, the club and inside, we can speak about that, and then [there are] no distractions.
“I don’t want distractions, and today I think every player they had their focus on the match.”
Torreira scored with a scissor kick after being set up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the midfielder’s second goal in a week after he struck against Tottenham in the North London derby.
“He has quality, and his interpretation on the pitch tactically, in attacking moments and defensively, he is very fast in his mind and in his foot,” Emery said.
“He can do very good work in the defensive moments and, like today and like last week, he can get into the box and score.”
Shkodran Mustafi limped off with with a hamstring injury, just three days after fellow centre-back Rob Holding ruptured a ligament in his left knee.
Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos also picked up bookings that mean they are suspended for next weekend’s game against Southampton, leaving Emery facing a centre-back crisis.
But with Nacho Monreal returning from a hamstring injury as a substitute and Laurent Koscielny on the bench for the first time this season, Emery said he had enough resources to cope.
“I don’t know now how we’re going to play next week. But we have players,” he said. “Today we have also [Stephan] Lichtsteiner playing at centre-back. Koscielny is also coming, and Nacho Monreal. I will have players.”
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