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Arteta refuses to engage with Conte jibe as Arsenal look to put derby behind them

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Arteta refuses to engage with Conte jibe as Arsenal look to put derby behind them

Antonio Conte criticised the Gunners boss after their 3-0 defeat for “complaining too much”, following Rob Holding’s first-half red card on Thursday night.

But Arteta has no interest in engaging in a war of words and, when asked about his counterpart’s claims during Saturday’s press conference, he replied: “I am fully focused on Newcastle.”

Two wins, against the Magpies and Everton, will secure Champions League football for Arsenal regardless of how Spurs fare in the final eight days of the season.

For Arteta, the disappointing defeat has only served to underline his desire to claim fourth place.

He said: “[I learned] how lucky I am to have [these players], how they stand under any difficulty, how much they are looking forward to play on Monday, how excited they are about the challenge ahead, because we all know everything that we’ve been through throughout the season and how much we have to fight to be in this position.

“Obviously losing a derby is always painful and having been through the situation we went in the game, it’s like that, but as well, you learn a lot probably more than with any victory, so it’s good to go through those moments sometimes.”

Arsenal may be forced to field a makeshift defence against Newcastle on Monday with Ben White and Gabriel major injury concerns, along with the absent Kieran Tierney and suspended Rob Holding.

Arteta added: “We will know probably more [on Sunday], so we wanted to extend this period as much as possible to understand how they are recovering, how they are feeling, assess them and tomorrow probably we will know more about how they are.”

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