Alex Iwobi says Unai Emery has told him to compartmentalise his disappointment when he makes mistakes during matches and that the advice is giving him the confidence to be more impactful with the ball.
The Nigeria international came off the bench to great effect on Saturday playing a pivotal role in both of Arsenal’s late goals as they overcame Watford 2-0 at the Emirates.
The midfielder, who has two goals and an assist in 328 minutes this season, also revealed that he’s feeling sharper thanks to the intensive pre-season training regime put in place by the Spaniard.
“I’m more positive and more confident with the ball,” Iwobi said. “The boss has basically told me that if something doesn’t work, just keep going and don’t dwell on it.
“He’s told me to stop being so critical and to just keep trying no matter what happens, no matter if things don’t go as I want them to.
“That’s given me a lot more confidence to try a few more things, like beat a player, to shoot more. I’m always ready to get on the ball a bit more, so I guess it’s helped in that sense.
“I’ve lost a bit of weight because of the intense training and I think it’s made me a bit sharper.”
It’s interesting to hear Iwobi talk about being less critical of himself, it’s something that really took a toll on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during his time at Arsenal and something he said Jurgen Klopp was eager to rectify when he moved to Anfield.
As we’ve all seen, Emery, like Klopp, is a very animated figure on the touchline and his willingness to applaud and encourage his players during the game has proved a marked difference from the milder-in-game-mannerisms of Arsene Wenger. It seems to be working for young Iwobi who has been impressive this season but still has room for further improvement.