Unai Emery refused to criticise Matteo Guendouzi after the Frenchman was sent off against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Arsenal were cruising into the quarter finals with a 2-0 lead given to them by goals from Stephan Lichtsteiner and Emile Smith-Rowe, but Guendouzi's 56th minute red card for a tug on Jordan Thompson put their progress in jeopardy.
Paudie O'Connor halved the deficit for Blackpool but they couldn't find an equaliser and the pressure was relieved when O'Connor was also dismissed six minutes from time. Guendouzi will now miss Arsenal's crucial Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday but Emery defended the 19-year-old after the match.
"That is football. Things can be positive or negative like an injury, a red card, 90 minutes of hard work that don't allow you to play other matches," said the Gunners manager, quoted by Goal. "A red card is like that.
"We have a lot of players looking to play, to help us and take responsibility. His quality for the team, I am going to prepare with other players for the big match.
"He's playing well. He's playing with a spirit – [he's] competitive. The action is... it's an action, he plays that action as a normal moment in the game.
1 - Matteo Guendouzi is the first Arsenal player to be sent off in the League Cup since Denilson against Blackburn Rovers in December 2007. Mist.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 31, 2018
"He is pushing behind the player. He is playing with the spirit I want today and every match.
"We have spoken. It is very important to control, but I don’t think he lost control. The red card is one circumstance."
It was Guendouzi's second career red card after he was also sent off while playing for Lorient in a Ligue 2 match against Auxerre in 2017.