Mikel Arteta sends message to Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal star scores vs Dundalk

Mikel Arteta has told Nicolas Pepe to try and improve going forward despite scoring in a 3-0 win over Dundalk in the Europa League.

Arsenal have made it two wins out of two in Europe to take up a commanding position in their group.

After an initially resilient display from their Irish neighbours, Eddie Nketiah eventually broke the deadlock.

A goalkeeping error allowed the young forward to score just before half-time and before Dundalk knew what hit them, they were two down.

Another Arsenal academy graduate got on the scoresheet after Joe Willock delivered a devastating finish.

And just seconds into the second half, Pepe made sure of the result with a fine goal of his own.

It was a rare start for the Ivorian under Arteta this season, with Willian preferred on the right-hand side.

But while the ex-Lille star's finish was top drawer, there were some criticisms over his performance.

In the first-half, Pepe lost the ball 15 times – five times more than any of his opponents.

After signing for £72m, there have been only a handful of magic moments from the forward but there is clear potential.

And Arteta wants to see that side of Pepe more often and has told him to work hard to get there.

He said: "I think he's so willing to do well and show everybody that he's a player who can make the difference every week.

"It's about finding the consistency on many occasions when he has to make decisions on the pitch.

"It's nothing to do with his attitude. He's a player who takes risks.

"Sometimes it's the simple things, the deliveries and to keep evolving that phase of player.

"He needs to be more consistent and hopefully he'll be doing that more efficiently.

"Knowing Nico I don't think it's [the price tag] is something that affects him too much. He has to try better and we're trying to help him."

Arsenal face Manchester United at the weekend, who have emerged from their 6-1 thrashing from Tottenham with good credit.

They have beaten Paris St-Germain and RB Leipzig, and drew to Chelsea in a grueling list of fixtures where many had written them off.

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