Date published: Monday 29th June 2020 4:28
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says club-record signing Nicolas Pepe needs to stamp out his habit of switching off in key moments of matches.
Pepe has impressed since football resumed this month, scoring a superb goal in the Premier League defeat to Brighton.
What’s more, his penalty at Sheffield United on Sunday set the Gunners on their way to the FA Cup semi-finals.
The 25-year-old’s spot-kick was the forward’s eighth goal of the season since his £72million move last summer.
Arteta said: “It’s very important to try and understand a player and find out what his feelings are, how hard it’s been to adapt to a new country and a language that he doesn’t understand.
“I don’t know him from before, but he is very willing and he is a player with incredible potential.
“However, he needs to take care of moments in the game when he disconnects himself a little bit. He cannot do that, and I will be very persistent with him to try to change that.
“He also needs to be decisive in every game because if he is at his best he is a player who can make the difference.
“There are things to work on and improve but he is heading in the right direction. He is doing things very well too, like realising what he needs to do for the team when we don’t have the ball. I am very pleased with him.”
ARTETA’S PREMIER LEAGUE JIBE
Speaking after Sunday’s defeat of the Blades, Arteta also aimed a jibe at the Premier League for their scheduling.
The Gunners are back in action on Wednesday, facing Norwich at the Emirates.
“We have played four away games since the restart. Thank you to the Premier League for our calendar playing every three days. But we go again on Wednesday,” the manager said.
“I knew Sheffield United were going to have moments. They are so good at their game plans and putting teams under pressure.
“We conceded form a long throw which is so hard to defend. But we were able to win the game.”
Arsenal’s win on Sunday was their second on the bounce after they resumed their campaign with two defeats.