Press conference

'Nico needs to embrace this challenge'

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta

Sunday was a bad day for Nicolas Pepe, as he was sent off early in the second half against Leeds for a head butt.

But Mikel Arteta has pledged his support for the Ivorian forward, and says he has the talent to make a big success of his time with us.

"No, it's absolutely not [the end of his Arsenal career after the red card]," our manager said. "It's not about that and I don't like that type of statement.

"I will give Nico my full support all the time. He knows where he has to improve and we all know his qualities. He has some responsibility, I have a lot of responsibility, which is to get the best out of him and get the best position for him, the best areas where he can do what he can do with the ball. I cannot fault his effort at all.

"You see the way he strives for the team, the way he's working, it's been the best since he's been at the club. But there have been some aspects he can do better in because he has the ability.

"That's where I'm going to put the pressure on him to deliver what he can do. To say it's a threat for him to finish his [Arsenal] career... it's not at all like that.

"The club made a huge investment on him and people expect a lot from him because he has this quality. I said many times with the strikers and attacking players, it's the most difficult thing to be consistent when you have to create, when you have to unlock the door, when you have to score goals or get assists.

"This is why he's here and he needs to embrace this challenge, and go for it. We have to provide the best possible and ideal scenarios for him to be able to do that."

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