Unai Emery says he’s happy with the way David Luiz has adapted to life at Arsenal even though the Brazil international was twice caught out by Mohamed Salah’s trickery in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.
The £8 million deadline day signing from Chelsea seemed to suggest a penalty should not have been awarded after he pulled the Egyptian’s shirt in the box just after half time and was at fault nine minutes later when the Reds striker spun him on the halfway line in the build-up to his second.
While Luiz was roundly criticised for being done like a kipper, twice, his boss says the defender’s mentality and ambition will be a positive for the squad.
“It is not easy for him, the adaption to us has been very quick, but I am very happy with him,” Emery told press ahead of Sunday’s derby with Sp*rs.
“His decision is very ambitious to come here and be with us, and he wants to help us.
“We can speak about some fault with one player or another player, but we can also talk about some good decisions and very good actions in each match from one player. And with him it’s the same.
“The penalty last Sunday, we cannot speak a lot about that, the action with Salah we cannot speak a lot about that. For example, for that penalty he has one yellow card so if he made a foul with Salah it’s the second.
“He was intelligent and we can speak about positive decisions and we can also speak about the goal. We are in our way and I like and want his mentality.
“I want his ambition. I want to transmit the ambition from him and me to other players. After we can be competitive.”
Despite his poor day at the office, Luiz is likely to start in the centre of defence this Sunday when Sp*rs visit the Emirates. It remains to be seen whether he’ll retain his place after the international break with Rob Holding set to return to action following his recovery from ACL surgery.
Giving an update about the England under-21 international, Emery said: “Rob Holding is training with us, playing with the under-23s but he is not 100 per cent to play on Sunday with us.
“We are working with him one way, playing with the under-23s and training with us, and also testing his performance each day and with each match with the under-23s.
“We think now he is getting better, he can play one match but not with the intensity we want on Sunday, for example.”