Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has moved to quash reports suggesting that the road is closed for Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal.
The Arsenal man who was shown a straight red card for headbutting Leeds midfielder Ezgjan Alioski in Arsenal’s weekend game has received the full backing of his manager.
Though Arteta had branded the winger’s action unacceptable after the game, he has now thrown in his full support for the stricken winger by including him in the squad for their Europa League tie against Molde.
The Spaniard also stated that Thursday’s Europa League tie offers a perfect opportunity for Pepe to bounce back.
“We have all had disappointments in our playing careers, and obviously now we are frustrated because when you play against a team like Leeds for a long time with 10 men it makes a huge difference,” the Arsenal boss said via Goal.com.
“He had a really good reaction. The way he apologised, the way he understood his responsibility and hopefully tomorrow we can see the player we want to see have a good reaction and help his team.”
With reports suggesting that Pepe’s career was finished, Arteta was quick to throw his support behind the winger saying; “I will give Nico my full support all the time. He knows the things he has to improve, but as well we all know his qualities”
When suggested that his career at Arsenal might be coming to an end, Arteta responded.
“No, absolutely no,” he 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 the things he has to improve, but as well we all know his qualities.
“He has some responsibility and I have some responsibility which is to get the best out of him, get the best position for him and the best areas for him to do what he can do with the ball.
“I can’t fault at all his effort and if you see any of his stats the way he is trying for the team, the way he is working, it’s the best since he’s been at the club.
“But there are certain aspects he can do better because he has the ability and that’s where I’m going to put the pressure on him to deliver what he can do.
“But to say it’s a threat for him to finish his career [at Arsenal], it’s not at all like that.”
It is now time to move on, Nicolas Pepe has been condemned, he has apologised, the manager backs him.