Emery praises Pepe as Arsenal’s club-record signing saves the day against Vitoria

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe. Picture: Tim Goode/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery was quick to praise Nicolas Pepe after the club’s record signing earned all three points in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Vitoria Guimaraes.

The Ivorian was introduced as a 75th minute substitute with the Gunners 2-1 down, and he turned the game on its head, scoring two free-kicks in the final 10 minutes to win the game.

It was the kind of performance that Arsenal fans have been waiting to see from Pepe after a slow start to life in England following his £72m summer move from Lille.

His boss Emery believes he is continuing to improve, saying: "Every player, usually, they need time to adapt.

"Pepe is a very good player and we believe in him, totally.

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"The way he's going, sometimes he feels better, sometimes it's with more difficulty on the pitch. It depends on the opponent.

"He's improving and tonight those two goals are really important for us first, and then secondly for him.

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"He's continuing the adaptation in his process and as soon as he can adapt, that's better for us."

Emery also revealed that Pepe was practicing free-kicks after training this week, and the extra work clearly paid off.

"We are very happy for him and for us because those two goals, from two set-pieces, were perfect," he said.

"He was trying a lot of set-piece shooting on the training ground last week and I was watching his shooting, because I was also positive in that situation."

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