Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has seen a change in Nicolas Pepe’s mindset as he says there are now “no excuses” for the winger when it comes to inconsistency.
Pepe has had an up-and-down time at Arsenal since joining from Lille in a £72 million move in 2019, but he has scored 10 goals this season while becoming a key piece of the Gunners attack.
The winger scored twice in Arsenal’s 5-1 aggregate Europa League quarter-final win over Slavia Prague, and Arteta is now backing Pepe to take an even bigger step forward.
“I think he needed to do that, yes,” Arteta said when asked if Pepe had made adjustments to his mentality. “He needed a period of adaptation and that is gone now. So we cannot rely on adaptation again. Now it is about performance and he can do it.
“He has got the players to support him, a manager that trusts him, he has got all the staff that are willing to help him and all the team-mates who really like him because he is a really likable character, so there are no excuses.”
“He needs to have the right mindset and consistency to do what he can do because that is the level we are going to ask of him, the level I am asking of him.
“If it is something below that, he is not going to play but if he does what he can do he will have a big chance to play because he has incredible ability.”