Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he will continue to put pressure on Nicolas Pepe to reach his full potential and repay the club’s “huge investment”.
The Gunners boss was left angered by Pepe after the winger was sent off in their goalless draw with Leeds for a headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski.
The club’s £72m record signing has apologised both publicly and privately to his manager, who is hoping to see a reaction in Thursday’s Europa League group stage game against Molde.
“We all have disappointment and frustrations in our playing careers,” Arteta said. “He’s had a really good reaction, the way he apologised and understood his responsibility. Hopefully tomorrow we can see the player that we want to see.”
Asked if he feared the incident might have spelt an early end to Pepe’s Arsenal career, Arteta said: “No, it is absolutely not. I will give Nico my full support. He knows the things that he has to improve but we all know his qualities.
“That’s where I am going to put the pressure on, to deliver what we know he can do. I have a lot of responsibility to get the best out of him and I cannot fault his effort.
“The club made a huge investment on him and people expect a lot. He needs to embrace that challenge and go for it.
“He needs to feel that myself and the club are going to protect him. We are giving him time that he needed to adapt to the Premier League.
“With his ability, I am going to be very demanding because I know what he can do and he needs to deal with that.