Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted that Nicolas Pepe needs to be more consistent for him to regularly make the Gunners first team.
Pepe started and scored in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Irish minnows Dundalk at the Emirates on Thursday night.
But the Ivorian has featured in a Premier League line-up only once under Arteta this season, playing barely 200 minutes of league football across the Gunners’ six matches to date.
Arteta has always supported Pepe publicly but following his average performance on Thursday’s Europa League match, he admitted Pepe’s consistency would have to improve before he would be certain of more minutes.
“He’s not been first choice in all of the games at the moment but he’s played a lot of moments,” he said to the media after the match.
“Some have been better than others. It’s about finding the consistency, not through the games but during the games as well to be more incisive, and do the right things on many occasions when he has to make the right decision on the pitch.
“It’s nothing to do with his attitude. He’s a player who takes risks, a very creative player – that’s the most difficult thing in football, when the opposition know what you can do, how much they want to prevent the space, and creating situations from that is complicated.
“But sometimes it’s the simple things, the deliveries, the amount of situations he’s able to create or attract and then make the right decision to keep evolving that phase of play. For example, the finishing, the position inside the box, he has to be more consistent at it. We’re working on it, and hopefully he will be doing it much more efficiently.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal will be back to Premier League action against Manchester United on November 1.