Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said the media “try to put things on me I never said” in an angry post-match interview after their 1-0 win over Chelsea in a Premier League game on Tuesday.
Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal at Stamford Bridge to keep the Gunners in the hunt for European football as Chelsea suffered only a third defeat under Thomas Tuchel.
Arteta said in the build-up not all of his players had reached their maximum potential and some reports suggested he had questioned their effort levels.
“When it’s related to my players, they’re going to hit a wall.”
He added: “They can try to give their opinions from the outside, that’s fine, but to try to break what we have inside there is not possible.”
Arteta’s side are now eighth after winning three Premier League games in a row, but their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were effectively ended with last week’s exit to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals.
Arteta told Sky Sports: “Nothing is broken inside [the club]. I don’t know how they want to try from the outside. They try to put things on me that I never said.
“You can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt the efforts.
“I said if I don’t get 120% off each player it’s my fault and responsibility. It wasn’t like this in the press. I’m so annoyed by that.
“My players, I will defend them from everybody for the rest of the time I’m here. They don’t deserve that.”
Gunners defender Rob Holding told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m really pleased with our attitude and effort.
“The stuff came out in the media yesterday which he [Arteta] said isn’t true. It’s out of context. He explained that to us. We knew it wasn’t his opinion. We showed that tonight and we backed him and we did what he asked.”
Speaking at his own press conference, Chelsea’s head coach, Tuchel, said he takes full responsibility for his side’s home defeat by Arsenal after making seven changes for the game.
Tuchel made the changes having in mind his team’s showdown against Leicester City in the FA Cup final coming up on Saturday.
“I’m a bit angry that we had so many changes, that’s on me,” said Tuchel.
“I’m not so happy in the end with the line-up, but I didn’t know what would happen, I didn’t feel us today like I normally do and we can’t expect to win games if we’re not 100% in games.
“I’m not happy with what I saw, I have my responsibility because I picked the line-up, but the performance was the performance.”
Chelsea remain fourth on 64 points but the defeat will give their rivals hope of sneaking into the top four. They are six points ahead of West Ham, who have a game in hand, and seven ahead of Liverpool, who have two games in hand on the Blues.