Mikel Arteta dragged a furious Oleksandr Zinchenko from the Goodison Park pitch after Arsenal fell to their second league defeat of the season.
Zinchenko had clashed with Everton striker Neal Maupay in stoppage time of Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat on Saturday afternoon.
Arteta later said his players needed to show more “emotional control” in the final stages of the game. Zinchenko was far from the only Arsenal player to lose their cool as Everton battled to three points in Sean Dyche’s first match as manager.
"We needed more composure and to control emotionally the game better,” said Arteta. “In the last 10 or 15 minutes, particularly after we made the changes, we started to give away a lot of free kicks and a lot of rash decisions which is exactly what they [Everton] want.
“[Everton wanted] to slow the game down, do everything really long, play long into your line and don’t play a lot. We did not manage that well enough.”
Arteta rejected the suggestion that the lack of composure from his players was linked to the pressure of the title race, with Manchester City now able to close the gap to two points if they win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Arsenal have now lost their last three away matches at Everton but, while Arteta has been critical of his players for such performances in the past, on this occasion he said the afternoon had only made him “love” his team even more.
“I want the team to know how much I love them,” said Arteta. “I love them much more now than three hours ago, a week ago, a month ago, three months ago. It’s very easy to be next to the players when they’re winning and performing.
“These are the moments when I love my players more and my staff more and we’re going to stay together. This journey is going to be difficult and challenging and there’s going to be big stones in the middle and we have to overcome that.”
Dyche said the result, secured by James Tarkowski’s second-half header, was only the first step for his players and warned them that they face more hard work from Monday morning onwards.
“There are certain fundamentals I believe in,” said Dyche. “It has nothing to do with ex managers and coaches, I just try to bring my thoughts and the players have taken ownership.
“I told the players after the game that it is a starting point. A win is important, a clean sheet is fantastic, [but] come in on Monday because you will be working. And they will be working.
“We have condensed five weeks of planning in pre-season into five days and the players have done brilliantly to absorb that. We want to give them the freedom to play but you have to do the basics and it starts with the hard yards.”