Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette hails Mikel Arteta for confidence boost during 'complicated' goal drought

Simon Collings
Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has lifted the lid on how “hard and complicated” his goalscoring drought has been and praised Mikel Arteta for giving him the confidence to end it.

Lacazette got on the scoresheet during Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Newcastle United and in doing so found the net for the first time since December 12.

The Frenchman scored his goal by coming off the bench with five minutes to go after being left out of the starting XI in favour of Eddie Nketiah.

Lacazette, however, revealed Arteta explained his reasons for dropping him and has been keeping his confidence high during a difficult run.

“He explained it well, but I can’t tell you what he said,” said the Arsenal striker, when discussing his demotion to the bench.

“He talked with me to give me confidence. I am really, really happy because I waited for this moment for a long time.

“I am touched as well because of the way all my team-mates reacted when I scored that goal.

“It means a lot to me and a lot for the spirit we have in the team. This is good.

“It has been really hard and complicated, because sometimes I had some games with no chances, sometimes I missed or the goalkeeper saved it.

“Of course for a striker it is always hard to not score, but it happens in football. Hopefully it is the last time for me.”

Arsenal had established a three-goal lead courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Mesut Ozil before Lacazette notched in the fifth minute of injury time on Sunday,

All of that trio caught the eye, but Pepe was particularly impressive as he chipped in with two assists to go with his goal.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gave Lacazette confidence during his difficult goalless run (Getty Images)

The winger, who joined Arsenal from Lille in the summer for a club-record fee of £72million, has struggled to adapt to the Premier League, but Lacazette thinks he may have turned a corner.

“I used to say we need to be patient with him. He is still young, he came from another league and it is always different,” he said.

“The Premier League is the hardest league in the world I think, so you have to be nice with new players like him.

“He is someone who needs confidence and when you give him confidence he is better. He just needs time to understand how the League is and now we can see a really good Nicolas Pepe.”

Victory for Arsenal on Sunday saw them rise to 10th in the Premier League and they are now seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who play Manchester United on Monday night.

Lacazette says Arsenal must be patient with record signing Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The Gunners have improved since Arteta was appointed in December and are unbeaten in eight games this year.

Lacazette has duly praised Arteta’s work and hailed the discipline he has installed in the squad.

“He demands a lot of things,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say he is strict, but he knows what he wants and when it is not good we know that as well we are playing s***. He is a good coach.”

Read more

Arsenal's £220m quartet prove Arteta has tools to salvage poor season

Arsenal boss Arteta reveals why he dropped Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal latest: UCL on the line as Arteta faces sternest test yet