Gunners boss Emery backs Pepe to come good

Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe will need time to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League, according to manager Unai Emery.

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The Gunners agreed to part with a club-record £72million to sign Pepe, who was also linked with Liverpool, from Lille over the summer but it is understood the fee will be paid in instalments.

His signing, which eclipsed the previous record of £55m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was a big statement from Emery.

After scoring 22 goals in Ligue 1 last season, Arsenal fans were hoping he could bring that kind of form to the Emirates to support Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

However, he has struggled to settle in England, scoring just once in seven Premier League appearances, and the deal is already being questioned.

Pepe's performance in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Monday led to criticism from some sections and improvement is certainly required.

But Emery doesn't appear to have too many concerns about Pepe's ability and feels he will prove to be a big asset to the club in time.

The Spaniard admits that performances have been below par as a whole, despite sitting fourth, but is confident that will improve.

"He needs to play, get confidence, know progressively better the other players," Emery said.

"We need quality and the adaptation to play at that intensity. Because you need to think quickly, to move the ball quickly or keep the ball with strong intensity around you. We are in that process and Pepe, is the same."

The Ivory Coast international will likely get another opportunity to impress when Arsenal return to action in Europe on Thursday.

They are seeking a second successive victory in the Europa League, having beaten Eintracht Frankfurt in their opener, when they welcome Belgian side Stanard Liege to the Emirates.

History suggests all three points will be staying in north London as the Gunners have beaten Standard Liege in all four of their previous encounters, scoring 15 goals in the process.

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