Brighton’s goalscoring hero Neal Maupay has claimed sniping Arsenal players ‘got what they deserved’ in their 2-1 defeat to the Seagulls on Saturday afternoon, but the Frenchman was quick to apologise for his participation in an injury suffered by Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Maupay jumped to challenge the German shot-stopper and caused his opponent to fall awkwardly, forcing him to leave the pitch on a stretcher with a horrific knee injury. Arsenal players reacted badly, provoking the Brighton striker throughout the match and pushing him to the ground later on.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Maupay claimed the jibing Arsenal players ‘had been talking a lot,’ and ‘got what they deserved,’ after he sunk the winning goal in injury time for the relegation-threatened Seagulls.
“At half-time I went to Mikel Arteta to apologise,” said Maupay. “I never meant to injure him, I just jumped to get the ball. I’ve been through a bad injury, I know its hard, but I never meant to hurt him.
“The [Arsenal players] had been talking a lot, I think they got what they deserved.”
The 23-year-old continued to defend the part he played in the injury, which pundit Rio Ferdinand described as a ‘freak incident,’ claiming the challenge was ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and was quick to wish the Arsenal star a speedy recovery.
“Honestly, until the keeper gets the ball you never know what could happen. I just wanted to get the ball. It was shoulder to shoulder, I never meant to injure him. I’m really sorry and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Brighton’s victory was sealed deep into injury time by Maupay, completing a dramatic comeback following Nicolas Pepe’s excellent opener. The three points lift Graham Potter’s side towards safety, five points above struggling Bournemouth in 18th place.