Mikel Arteta has promised that, despite the pair putting in another unmemorable set of performances as the Gunners were knocked out of the FA Cup by Southampton, Arsenal will continue throwing their support behind Nicolas Pepe and Willian.
The strike of Kyle Walker-Peters via a deflection off Gabriel Magalhaes would have been enough to give the win to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, with the team of Arteta struggling to find the spark needed to get back in the game.
For some time now, all eyes have been on Pepe, with the Ivory Coast international boasting the title of the most costly transfer of all time by Arsenal, while the arrival of Willian was expected to bring some much-needed experience to a side building for the future.
However, both struggled to reproduce the same kind of form that convinced the Gunners to bring them in, but Arteta maintains that as they look to return to their old self, the pair still has its full support.
“They’re trying to do their best,” said the Arsenal manager. The goal and desire are there and the final pass is the final result after the decision-making, and that is the hardest thing in football. We will continue to help them as much as we can.’
“I hope so, and we will continue to support them as much as we can as a coaching staff and as a club, because that’s what they need,” he said, as to whether they will turn around their fortunes. They need to continue to work harder to try to improve their results.
“I’m very frustrated,” he said as he was poured out of the cup. We had to do it again with a dream and the dream is over. I’m disappointed with the way we agreed to the goal. I can’t blame the players’ efforts, but it wasn’t enough.
Sad to be out of the race, really. Disappointed with being out and the way we acknowledged it. As a consequence of the high press they are doing, we had challenges in the first half and unforced errors. We had two or three big chances in the second half, but not enough.
“It was a game, too. A number of second balls were won in the first half. We added more consistency to the second half. We have been more powerful and have generated opportunities, but that has not been enough.