Speaking in an extensive interview with Arsenal.com, German defender Shkodran Mustafi has opened up on the reason why he quit social media on how he dealt with criticism.
“As a central defender you have a lot of pressure, but then you make this mistake and suddenly the pressure becomes even more. To handle this pressure is not always easy. As a central defender you have to do your job perfectly to just have a normal game,” said Mustafi.
“When you win all your tackles, when you win everything on the pitch but then make one mistake that you’re punished for, it destroys everything that you did before. This is something that makes this position so hard.
“It affects you, too. After the game of course you’re disappointed because nobody is happy making mistakes, but when I made a mistake and we conceded a goal from it I would go into the dressing room and I’d be disappointed to let my team-mates down. This is the first thing.
“You look at each of the players and think, ‘OK, they worked so hard and one of my mistakes made us lose the game’. You blame yourself a lot. I am quite harsh on myself as well when I make mistakes. This is something you have to learn to deal with because the next day you’re straight back in training and you’re focusing on not making the same mistake again.
“It’s something that affected me but I had to deal with it because I didn’t want to make the same mistake again, I wanted to come to the training ground and show them that I am going to be there for them, I am going to be there for the team, I am going to be there for the supporters.
On dealing with social media.. “You’ve also got to deal with social media. On there, it’s difficult to handle when things are going well and then when things are not working out it’s even tougher. When things are going well, it’s easy to read those comments and like what you read. It gives you confidence but you have to be careful not to get carried away because you still have to stay professional.
“Then when things aren’t going well, obviously you don’t like the stuff you read. You don’t agree with a lot of comments, so it makes it difficult. It’s so much easier when things are going well because when you’re reading comments you don’t like, you have to go out and play and you’ve got those comments in your head.
“I managed to try to block it out a little bit. I was not that active on social media and wasn’t reading comments, I wasn’t too concerned about social media, I just wanted to go back on the pitch and give everything because I knew that in this moment I was not playing the football I know I could play.
“I was just talking with the closest people around me like my family, my parents, my wife, my kids, and this helped me to forget about everything. In the morning when I was coming to training, I would just focus on the training and then go back home to spend time with my family. I tried not to read too much stuff that people were saying.”