LONDON: Nicolas Pepe was urged by Unai Emery to deal with the pressure that comes with his club-record price tag as the Arsenal winger tries to recover from a shaky start to life in England.
To land the Ivory Coast international from Lille in the close-season, Emery paid a reported £72 million (RM371.20 million). However, Pepe has yet to impress for the Gunners.
The 22-goal hitmaker for Lille last term was criticised for his limp display in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
“It has not been easy,“ he told French broadcaster. “My confidence must come back. I am not very worried. People may be worried about my statistics but I am not.”
Pepe may start in Thursday’s Europa League Group F clash at home with Standard Liege in an attempt to play him into form.
According to the Spaniard, there is no concern that the fee Arsenal paid for Pepe is weighing him down, having seen him score just one goal so far.
“They are human, every player. When they are here working and playing with us, we don’t want and it’s not relevant for us to speak about the money,“ Emery told reporters on Wednesday.
“Not for him, not for young players or experienced players. The salary is not important to me.
“We are playing every time, as a coach or a player, under pressure. Under pressure is positive. Being under pressure is because we are at a big club with a very demanding objective.
“We are here because we are in the selection. Every player is in the selection to be here and it’s a privilege to be here.
“That privilege brings pressure, of course. But it’s positive, of course.”
Emery feels that once he has adapted to life in England, he will go on to have a fine career with the club. Pepe has started Arsenal’s last five Premier League games.
“He still needs to play, get confidence, know progressively better the other players, our work,“ he added.
“It’s one price and this process is called adaption. The adaptation, some need less time and some need more. “But I am sure that Pepe is an amazing player, I am sure he is going to be here a big career, needs time.”
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