Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has hit out at the club’s fans for criticising his performances.
The under fire centre-half has fallen down the pecking order at the Gunners, and looked set to depart London during the summer.
Instead, Mustafi stayed with Arsenal and pledged to fight for his place, however he has been unable to gain a single Premier League appearance so far this season.
His only outings this campaign have been in cup competitions, featuring in a Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest as well as Europa League triumphs over Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege.
Mustafi has had to watch on as summer arrival David Luiz climbed straight into the Arsenal starting line-up, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers also preferred ahead of him.
The German defender spoke out about criticism he received from Gunners supporters last season, which included his performance in a 5-1 loss to Liverpool back in December.
“I had missed three weeks injured and then went into the [Liverpool] game without training with the team because the coach needed me,” he told German media outlet Der Spiegel.
“At half-time it was 4-1, I looked a few times not good and have injured myself again.
“Afterwards, I got a lot of negative comments from Arsenal fans on Instagram and Twitter. And articles were written in which I was harshly criticised.”
Mustafi also spoke about the fans’ reaction to his performance in a 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace in April, as he made errors that led to goals for Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha.
“I’m self-critical enough to realise that I made those mistakes,” he added.
“I can also deal with tough criticism. But the criticism has become escalated and irrational. I have become a target.
“At some point, people even blamed me for a defeat I had not played at all.”