Mikel Arteta insisted he wanted to remain focused on Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Southampton and not the disciplinary breach that led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being left out.
Gunners boss Arteta confirmed the reason for Aubameyang’s omission before kick-off.
Explaining the Arsenal captain’s absence, Arteta said: “Unfortunately, due to a disciplinary breach.
But after Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel had scored to complete a win that revives Arsenal’s top-four challenge after three defeats in the previous four matches, Arteta would not be drawn on why Aubameyang had been punished or whether the forward would retain the captaincy.
He said: “It was a disciplinary breach and that’s why he was out of the squad.
“I am not going to say anything else. I am going to focus on the performance and what the team did on the pitch.”
The Spaniard said: “He (Odegaard) is making the box much more and now he’s understanding why we encourage him to do that because he is a match-winner, and that is the difference between a very good player and a match-winner. We need more of those players on the pitch.”
Arteta also singled Lacazette out for praise.
“He has done everything in the game we asked him to do,” said the manager.
“First of all his energy and his commitment and the way he leads, the way he handled the space and the threat he was in the box.
Gabriel wrapped up the win in the 62nd minute and Arteta added: “We created more chances to score so I think we did really well and after a defeat it is always good to get a performance like that and a result.”
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted his side had been overwhelmed after a positive start.
He said: “It was hard to believe we were 2-0 down and it changed the momentum of the game completely. It is something you have to accept.
“We tried to calm the game down. Mentally it was hard for us and for them it was easier. We tried after half-time to come back in the game. After the third goal the game is gone.
“You could feel the quality they had when they were in the flow.
“Both the first-half goals were preventable. In the first goal Jan was not defending out. Until that moment we played a good game.”
Saints strikers Adam Armstrong and Armando Broja were both replaced because of injury.
Hasenhuttl said: “We hope they are not too serious.”
He added: “Today we had a few missed players with suspensions, plus a new goalkeeper, it is not so easy for us to find the rhythm. You could see it was not perfect what we did against the ball today.
“It’s always frustrating when you know how good you can play, you do it and then the output is nothing. Especially when you concede the first goal and it is far away from being deserved.”