Mikel Arteta has insisted Arsenal are the 'most honest' club in the Premier League, despite their controversial winner against Watford on Sunday.
Hornets manager Claudio Ranieri was left fuming after his side's 1-0 defeat, in which Emile Smith Rowe scored the game's only goal.
Just before the strike Danny Rose put the ball out of play so his teammate, Ozan Tufan, could receive treatment. However, instead of giving the ball back to their visitors, Arsenal opted to play on with the goal coming not long after.
Following the game, Ranieri and Arteta exchanged words and the Italian accused the Gunners of 'disrespect' in his post-match interview.
The Arsenal boss did not agree, giving his side of the story during his own after-game media duties.
"I have to defend my players, my team and my club. I would say we are the most honest of all of them," Arteta said.
"At some stages we can even become naive, but if he feels that way towards us our club and our team I have to apologise if that's the case. But for sure there was no intention to take any advantage."
Pushed to discuss the matter further, Arteta said: "I'm focused on the performance. I want to talk about what we did and we deserved completely to win the game."
Prior to the controversy, Arsenal had a Bukayo Saka strike ruled out for offside and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also had a penalty saved.
The victory was the Gunners' third in a row, lifting them to fifth in the Premier League table. It is quite the turnaround after Arsenal's poor start - they lost their first three games - but Arteta insisted that he was always confident that his side would come good.
"I think it was about what I could see around me. The belief, the sense of belonging they have to be part of our team. The unity they showed in difficult moments, not to try to point at anybody," he added.
"To show responsibility, leadership and courage to overcome the situation. To face the criticism because it is part of football and move forward, slowly try to engage some people and be lucky.
"Because we had some supporters that showed in difficult moments, that they love this club so much and they realised how important it is to play the game with them and when that happened you can see the atmosphere inside the stadium."
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Source : 90min