Press conference

'Saka was upset with me, but he's amazing'

Bukayo Saka emerged from Thursday night's draw in Liege with a proud stat to his name: he has assisted six times this season, twice more than any Arsenal teammate.

Those contributions have been largely confined to the Europa League and Carabao Cup, but there's no doubting the quality of this precocious 18 year old. His cross for Alex Lacazette was whipped in at such pace and with such accuracy that our captain on the night just had to put his head on the ball.

Saka's equaliser - a composed finish after a one-two with Gabriel Martinelli - gave us a glimpse of the future as well as the present. It was Saka's second goal for us, and the first was just as good, in Frankfurt this season.

Freddie Ljungberg worked with Saka in the academy before they both stepped up into the first team, and our interim head coach is a big fan.

"He was amazing," said Freddie.

"I think he was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and then full-back! Because he doesn't like it so much.

"But no, he's a tremendous talent and you could see it here again. His final ball and the last bit is always effective and there's always an end product to his work.

"I felt sorry sometimes for our young players because a lot of them have not been on loan. So they haven't got that exposure to play 90 minutes of men's football for a longer period of time.

"So I felt in this game that I wanted to get them on the pitch to get that experience, because I know how good they are but they just don't have experience and some of them, yes, they made some mistakes today.

"But I think from those mistakes they won't redo them and that's invaluable for them and we won the group. So no, Bukayo did tremendous to go back to that [playing wing-back] today."

 

 

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