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Mikel Arteta promises to keep the faith with the duo under the fire Willian & Nicolas Pepe


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted he hadn’t lost faith in wingers Nicolas Pepe and Willian, although both players haven’t lived up to their high prices since their move to Emirates Stadium.

Pepe, a £ 72million signing from Lille in 2019, has only started four Premier League games this season after failing to impress last year, and he was recently joined on the bench by Willian, who hasn’t had the desired impact since joining Chelsea. in summer.

Nicolas Pepe, Willian
Pepe and Willian both wrestled | Pool / Getty Images

Both were part of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the FA Cup, but neither managed to cover themselves in glory. Willian, who signed a three-year contract worth almost £ 220,000 a week, was caught lingering on the ball for the Saints’ goal, and many fans have already lost faith in the 32 years old.

However, Arteta has vowed to support the struggling duo, insisting in his post-match press conference (via the club’s official website) he still believes they are giving their all for the club.

When asked if fans are right to demand more from the pair, Arteta replied, “Well, I don’t know. They have the right to ask for anything. What I’m saying is they tried to do their best.

Willian was responsible for the Saints goal | Robin Jones / Getty Images

“You see how hard they’ve tried, sometimes with varying degrees of quality, but the intention is there, and the will is there, and that’s what we ask them to do. After that, the decision-making, the final pass, the final ball, the opportunities they have – it’s the end product, it’s the hardest thing in football.

“I want to think positively and think that they will reach their level very soon. The way they train every day is to reach that level and we’re here to support them again, not to think negatively. ”

The failure to defend their FA Cup crown has also seen Arteta question whether his side are good enough to shoot in big games, with some arguing that the Gunners’ reserve players just don’t have the quality they need.

Mikel Arteta
Arteta has confidence in his team | Robin Jones / Getty Images

“I can’t complain about the team I have and the players I have,” added Arteta. “We are disappointed with the way we lost the game and the way we gave them the goal.

“Then when we got into the opponent’s box and we had a chance, we didn’t hit the target. When you do that in this competition, and against this opponent, then you are out. But I don’t want to put this. on all the individuals they have all done their best, they will keep trying to do it, and we are here to support them and try to improve them. “

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