Arteta – Tavares needs the rhythm of games

Mikel Arteta has said the club has been helping to boost the confidence of Nuno Tavares, after withdrawing the Portuguese full back at half time of Monday night’s defeat at Crystal Palace.

The 22-year-old defender was making his first start in the league since early December at Selhurst Park, and following the injury to Kieran Tierney, the left back could be called upon again during the crucial season run in.

The summer signing enjoyed an excellent run in the side during the winter, and Arteta is backing him to rediscover that form again.

“Throughout your career you have to go through difficult moments,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“He’s had some really good periods since he arrived at the club and he was playing many more minutes than he was probably expecting. That’s the life of a player, especially at that age.

“There’s ups and downs and we are here to try and help him and make his career better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

He added: “His confidence probably wasn’t the best because he wasn’t playing a lot of minutes and he needs the rhythm, the competition and the understanding with his teammates.

“We have to help him to do that, but at the end of the day, when you’re in a match you have to decide if something can change the game and how can we make it better and on Monday we made that decision.”

The boss revealed he spoke to Nuno after the game, explaining his decision to substitute him as the team chased goals after trailing 2-0 down at the break.

“Always I speak with the players and I spoke with Nuno because I care about how he feels. That was a decision that hurt him, obviously, but he understands that it was for the benefit of the team and he respects that. Now he needs to react to that situation because he has a great opportunity to learn a lot in that period of his career.”

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