Mikel Arteta says Nicolas Pepe will receive his 'full support' following red card at Leeds

Sam Dean
·2-min read
 Referee Anthony Taylor sends off Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal - Kevin Quigley
Referee Anthony Taylor sends off Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal - Kevin Quigley

Mikel Arteta has vowed to give Nicolas Pepe his “full support” as he called on the club’s record signing to show he has learned from his red card against Leeds United.

Pepe was sent off for a headbutt on Leeds player Ezgjan Alioski on Sunday but will have a chance to redeem himself in Arsenal’s Europa League match against Molde on Thursday.

The winger, Arsenal’s club record signing, has apologised publicly and privately for his red card and Arteta said he has seen a “really good reaction” since the weekend.

Asked if Pepe’s Arsenal future is now on the line, Arteta said: “Absolutely not. It’s not about that and I do not like that type of statement.

“I will give Nico my full support all the time. He knows the things he has to improve but again we all know his qualities. He has some responsibility and I have a lot of responsibility to get the best out of him.

“I cannot fault his efforts at all. You see any of his stats, the way he’s working and trying for the team, he’s been the best since he’s been at the club. But there are certain aspects he can do better because he has the ability.

“That’s where I am going to put him under pressure to deliver what he can do. But in any way to say there is a threat to finish his career here, that’s not at all like that.”

Sam Dean's Arsenal briefing
Sam Dean's Arsenal briefing

Arsenal have three wins from three Europa League games this season and they would guarantee qualification for the knockout stages by winning in Norway.

With Willian and Bukayo Saka both left behind due to minor injuries, Pepe is set to start in his favoured position on the wing.

“The club made a huge investment in him and obviously people expect a lot from him because he has this quality,” Arteta said of the £72 million signing.

“I said many times, with the strikers and attacking players it’s the most difficult thing to be consistent when you have to create, when you have to unlock the door and score goals and make assists.

“But this is why he is here, and he needs to embrace that challenge and go for it. We have to provide the best possible scenarios for him to be able to do that.”