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Nicolas Pépé: “Unai Emery’s departure was painful for me.”

Speaking exclusively to RMC Sport, Ivorian attacker Nicolas Pépé discussed his mixed start to life at Arsenal.

“I would say that my start has been a bit negative. Based on my own expectations of myself, I expected a bit more. I expect more and it is up to me to work hard and make the difference in each match. It is normal for people to criticise me as much as they are doing because I am not making the difference in each match. I understand them. It is certainly up to me to reverse this situation through hard work.”

“There are lots of aspects that I need to improve. Score more quickly, take the opportunities to score that I’ve been missing. It’s like that, that’s football. I also need to improve on the physical aspect because coming from France to England, there is this box-to-box aspect that you have to take into account.”

Would you say that the Premier League is very different to Ligue 1?

Yes, that’s how I’ve experienced it. In every aspect. Things are going in every direction all the time in England and that’s the biggest difference compared with France.

On his pricetag:

I wouldn’t say that I am carrying that pressure on my shoulders no. But it is normal for people to talk about that. That’s how football is.

Were you warmly welcomed? I know that you are a bit of a trio with Auba (meyang), Lacaz (ette). Tell us a bit about your day to day.

Of course I have a good relationship with them because from the moment I arrived, they spoke French, I spoke French so immediately we formed a relationship. The same with Mattéo (Guendouzi). On the pitch, we look for each other, which is normal. Aside from that, in training it is the same to create chemistry with each other. Here the competition is really healthy. When you are an attacker, you constantly think to score, but honestly here we also think about passing so that the other one can score. Here that’s what we look to do.

On the departure of Unai Emery:

It was painful because he is a coach who gave me the chance to come to Arsenal. We mustn’t forget that. For me, it was something painful.

On the “arrival’ of Freddie Ljungberg:

As he was a player, he understands us better. He speaks a lot with us, so for us it is quite simple for us to understand him like for him it is quite easy to understand us.

On not currently being in the starting XI:

Right now there are some players who are playing others who are not. That’s football, it’s like that. It is the coach who decides. If I am on the bench, it is up to me to put the work in to get back in the starting XI.

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