Arsene Wenger praises new boy Lucas Perez for two-goal performance during Arsenal’s 4-0 rout at Nottingham Forest
22:56 20 September 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsene Wenger praised summer signing Lucas Perez for his performance in Arsenal’s 4-0 rout of Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.
The speedy forward – signed for around £18million from La Liga outfit Deportivo La Coruna hours before the transfer window shut – shone at a packed City Ground.
The 28-year-old made a big impression in the East Midlands by netting a brace as his team scored four goals away from home for the second time in four days, after their 4-1 trouncing of Hull City on Saturday.
The long-serving Frenchman singled out the Coruna-born player for attention, as the Gunners cruised to a comprehensive victory through another long-range strike from fellow new-boy Granit Xhaka, and a late strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian after a powerful run – sandwiched by Perez’s pair.
And although Perez showed a cool head in netting his first goal for the club through a penalty on the hour – won after Michael Mancienne fouled the lively Chuba Akpom in the box – it was his second goal that won applause from his boss.
Wenger said: “I liked his second goal tonight as he showed that it was not only good technique it was good determination.
“He’s quick and determined and I like the way he used his left foot.
“And for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal I also liked the way he showed can combine with other people. He is an intelligent player.
“For me the most important thing is to win the game – but for the player individually it can convince people he has the level to play for us – and to grow in belief.”
Wenger added he also told his team to use the shock of losing to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup last season to ensure his team were not the victims of another giant killing, at the City Ground.
“I told the players, last year we went to Tottenham and won, and then after that we went to Sheffield Wednesday and lost 3-0.
“We lost because we were not ready mentally for the commitment of a Championship side – and that helped us tonight to start in a much stronger way.”
Reflecting on the match he added: “The game was played at a good pace. We needed to be full of commitment.
“I felt technically overall we did well. Our combinations worked well and we played at a good pace, and that slowly made a difference in the game.
“We had sharp movement, and great mobility in the team. We were also very quick.
“We had some young players who did well, and Perez did score as well so overall it was a positive night”, adding with satisfaction, “a striker always grows when he scores.”