Brighton's Neal Maupay apologises to Arsenal's Bernd Leno but says Gunners must 'learn humility'

Brighton match-winner Neal Maupay has apologised for his part in Bernd Leno's injury but says Arsenal players need to "learn humility".

The Frenchman 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.

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 half-time 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."

Maupay also re-iterated his apology to Leno in a tweet later on Saturday evening.

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.

"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."

In his post-match press conference, Brighton boss Graham Potter defended his player and put Arsenal players' reactions late on down to emotion.

"We're not a team who want to see players injured, we're professional in that way and we don't like to see people carried off," he said. "It wasn't a malicious challenge, he didn't go to hurt anybody, it's just one of those things that can happen in football but we wish him a speedy recovery.

"When you concede a last-minute goal, emotions are raw, it's hard for us to contain our excitement, we're fighting for our lives, and it's disappointing for them. They played a good game and I don't think they deserved to lose but sometimes life isn't fair and you have to deal with it. I think you just saw that emotion - it's not a big problem."

Leno was replaced by second-choice 'keeper Emiliano Martinez, who was making his first Premier League appearance since April 2017.

His injury came after Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka were injured during Arsenal's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday night.

The club have confirmed Mari suffered a "significant" ankle injury that could rule him out for the season, while Xhaka sprained an ankle in the defeat.

With David Luiz also suspended for another game after his red card at the Etihad Stadium, Arteta will be struggling for numbers ahead of Thursday's trip to Southampton.

Calum Chambers (knee), Cedric Soares (head) and Sokratis Papastathopoulos (thigh) are already missing, leaving Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding as Mikel Arteta's only fit centre-halves while Lucas Torreira also remains out.

However, Arsenal said they are hoping Xhaka, Soares and Torreira would be "aiming to return to training in the next two weeks".

Source: Sky Sports