Mikel Arteta revealed he didn’t want to play returning defender Takehiro Tomiyasu in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup defeat to Liverpool but claimed the club’s injury crisis left him no choice.
The Japanese defender, who has starred on the right-hand side for Arsenal this season, had missed Arsenal’s last two matches due to injury but was drafted in for the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Arteta claimed that injuries to back-up right-backs Callum Chambers and Cedric Soares, plus Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ departure to Roma on loan, left the 23-year-old as the only possible option for the crucial cup semi-final.
Mikel Arteta (right) revealed he didn’t want to play Takehiro Tomiyasu (left) against Liverpool on Thursday night
The Japanese defender was struggling with injury but played the whole match in Arsenal’s 2-0 Carabao Cup semi-final defeat
‘Well, he’s done incredibly,’ Arteta told the Arsenal official website. We didn’t want to play him, we had to push him because Cedric and Callum were out and we didn’t have any full backs.
‘The moment that he knew that he knew that he said that he would play. He didn’t have any training sessions with us, and still was willing play and compete the way he has done today. So I am extremely proud and grateful for the players that we have.’
Tomiyasu was accused of being at fault for Diogo Jota’s first goal of the evening as the Gunners right-back slipped while trying to catch the Portuguese international, who squirmed a shot past Aaron Ramsdale in the first-half.
Arteta has defended Tomiyasu’s (left) role in Diogo Jota’s opener which saw the defender slip
But Arteta has defended the Japanese defender for his role in the goal, claiming that the whole goal was preventable.
‘He slipped,’ Arteta added when asked if Tomiyasu could have done better for the goal.
‘He was trying to block the ball and he almost had the ball, but he slipped and after that the ball goes through his legs, he (Jota) miskicks the ball and it goes the other way from the keeper. So I think it was difficult to prevent that.’
Tomiyasu may be forced to play even more football as he continues to recover from injury, as Arsenal have a quick turnaround for their next game as they welcome Burnley to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.