Unai Emery says fielding record signing Nicolas Pepe for 45 minutes in the 2-1 win against Burnley was ‘perfect’ as the Ivorian continues to work his way to full fitness following a stunted pre-season.
While the 24-year-old may not have got on the scoresheet like teammates Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he did dovetail well with his attacking cohorts in a livewire second half cameo that bodes for the rest of the season.
His manager thinks there’s more to come, but for now, the Spaniard is happy.
“The structure of playing in their game plan is very strong and we needed to adapt to that,” Emery told his post-game press conference.
“Afterwards we needed to impose our capacity, our quality, our skills, our structure also offensively and defensively.
“I think we did that. But for example today, if we can take off the result, I think we can do better.
“After, the goals of Lacazette and Aubameyang is amazing. And Pepe’s impact is very good.
“Forty-five minutes today, he has been with us only two weeks and he needs to fit more. I spoke with him yesterday about how he is feeling every day with us, how he is feeling before the match, and he is feeling progressively better, but he needs more.
“Today, I think 45 minutes was perfect for him.”