Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits Granit Xhaka is “not naturally a great tackler” after the midfielder received his second straight red card of the season in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Burnley.
Xhaka will miss Saturday’s FA Cup meeting with Southampton and the following three matches after referee Jon Moss sent him off for a two-footed tackle on Steven Defour.
Having reviewed the incident Wenger insisted there was no malice in the challenge, but admits the 24-year-old needs to work on his tackling technique.
“I’ve watched it again and it was not a dangerous tackle, it was a clumsy tackle. But you have to accept you can be punished and he has to learn from that,” Wenger told a media conference on Thursday.
“I don’t think he wanted to injure anybody. Unfortunately we will lose him for four games at an important stage of the season.
“I think he’s not naturally a great tackler, [but] in his decision-making I think he’s quite intelligent on the pitch. He doesn’t master the technique of tackling.
“I would encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet. Tackling you learn at a young age, you can improve it, but when face to face with somebody it’s better that you stay up.”
Wenger also revealed Xhaka has denied allegations he made a racist remark to a member of staff at Heathrow Airport.
Xhaka was interviewed by Metropolitan Police under caution following the incident at the weekend but denied any wrongdoing when speaking to Wenger.
“I talked with him and he denies what happened. He denied what he is alleged to have said,” said the Frenchman.
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