Brighton star Neal Maupay has apologised for his part in Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s injury but says Gunners players need to “learn humility”.
Maupay scored deep into injury-time to complete a remarkable comeback and seal a 2-1 win for relegation-threatened Brighton — their first victory of 2020.
However, he had earlier fouled Leno during an aerial challenge, with the German keeper stretchered off after 36 minutes with what looked to be a bad knee injury.
Leno let out a scream in agony as he crumpled to the turf, as medics rushed to treat him — leading to a five-minute delay in action. British broadcaster BT Sport refused to show the injury because it was so bad.
On his way off the pitch, Leno pointed his finger at Maupay and aimed some choice words at the Brighton forward.
And the bad feeling towards Maupay resurfaced late on in the match after he struck Brighton’s second in the 95th minute.
Maupay went down softly when Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi nudged him as he ran past following the restart, and there were then clashes after the final whistle, with Guendouzi appearing to grab Maupay by the throat.
Speaking after the match, Maupay said he didn’t intend to hurt Leno but was critical of Arsenal players for “talking a lot” when they were leading through Nicolas Pepe’s opener.
“At halftime I went to Mikel Arteta, their manager, to apologise because I never meant to injure their keeper,” Maupay told BT Sport.
“I just jumped to get the ball maybe and when he landed he just twisted his knee, so I apologise to their team and to him as well.
“I’ve been through a bad injury so I know it’s hard but I never meant to hurt him.
“But some of the Arsenal players need to learn humility maybe sometimes. They’ve been talking a lot first half, second half when they were 1-0 up – they got what they deserved.”
Maupay also wished Leno a quick recovery.
“Until the keeper gets the ball you never know what could happen,” he said. “I just went to get the ball really. I think it was shoulder against shoulder and when he landed he twists his knee, you know it’s football, there’s contact.
“I never meant to injure him so I’m really sorry. I apologise again and wish him a speedy recovery.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta responded to those comments from Maupay in his post-match press conference. Arteta explained he was still unclear on how bad Leno’s injury was but insisted his players don’t lack humility.
“I think no player has the intention to hurt anyone, I think it’s the same here, it’s unfortunate,” said Arteta. “Bernd’s injury doesn’t look good, it can happen, we’ll analyse it tomorrow. We think he had a hyperextension of the knee and we’ll have to assess the damage.
“We don’t know, he was in a lot of pain and he’s still in some pain, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow at least to see how bad the damage is.
“I haven’t seen the action, I’ve seen a lot of players just talking about getting together, but I didn’t know what happened.
It’s the frustration because we threw the game away, and that’s a reaction that can happen. I always believe that a player has no intention to get someone else injured.
“He can say whatever he wants, I know my players and I know one thing they don’t lack is humility.”
This article first appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission