Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez has cleared Neal Maupay of deliberately trying to injure Bernd Leno.
Gunners keeper Leno is facing a lengthy lay-off after a serious knee injury after Brighton striker Maupay’s push caused him to land awkwardly.
But stand-in keeper Martinez insisted it was an accident despite his close pal Leno’s angry reaction at the Brighton striker when he was stretchered off.
Martinez said: “I don’t think he tried to injure him. He went for the ball, like any striker would and unfortunately this is football and these things happen.
“I spoke to him at half time and he felt like he stretched his knee, twisted it a little bit, we couldn’t see from so far away.
“But as a goalkeeper, in the goalkeepers’ union, I don’t want him to get injured, it’s a big loss for the team but I’m more than prepared.
“We are very close, me and Bernd, so I wish him a speedy recovery and if I have to keep his place then I will do my best.”
Martinez, 27, who has previously been called up by Argentina’s senior squad, has been the club’s regular back-up in the cups, his appearance as a sub was his first in the Premier League for three years but cannot believe the club’s bad luck with injuries.
He added: “It’s incredible. I’ve been at Arsenal for ten years and we’ve had so many injuries every season. But we have to deal with it, that’s why we have 25 really good players and we will be prepared for the rest of the games.
“It’s very difficult because as a keeper you want to play week-in and week-out, then you get the routine and the freedom and I’ve not played for four months.
“But I’ve been training really hard with the goalkeeper coach and that’s why I’m so disappointed with this game because I think we did well.”