Manchester [UK], December 23 (ANI): Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has backed striker Nicolas Pepe and said that he is 'trying his best' to deliver the expected results for the club.
Arsenal signed Pepe on a record fee of 72 million pounds from Lille in August 2019, with the Gunners winning the race for his signature ahead of a host of top European clubs.
The Ivory Coast international established himself as arguably the most dangerous winger in Ligue 1 during his time at Stade Pierre Mauroy, scoring 37 goals in 79 appearances but has so far been unable to reach the same heights in north London.
The 25-year-old forward has just netted 13 goals in his first 61 outings for the Gunners, his lastest goal came from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat at Everton on Sunday.
"He is hurting, he is suffering -- believe me, I am close to him -- and he is trying his best. He feels the responsibility because he knows why the club brought him here and he wants to deliver that," Goal.com quoted the Spanish head coach as saying.
"I would always defend my players. Whatever I have to discuss with him, it will be internally. Pepe wants to do his best and help as much as he possibly can. This is what I am interested in. It is my job and if he doesn't, it is my fault. He is trying his best. We all know Nico and sometimes his body language makes him feel bad," Arteta added.
Pepe's will now be seen in action against Chelsea in a crucial London derby clash on Saturday. Arteta's men will be desperate to bring a seven-match winless streak in the Premier League to a close against the Blues, who are currently 11 points ahead of them in the table. (ANI)