Is it a good sign that you’ve been able to play well without Aubameyang when compared to last season?
Well we missed him a few games last season as well. Auba is a big part of our team, he’s a really important player in our squad and he will continue to be. You need those players in your team to be successful and that’s not going to change overnight because we win one or two games.
It’s great that the team has the ability and the capacity to resolve when we are missing some important players. The same with David [Luiz], the same with Kieran [Tierney], the same with many others that we have missed, the same with Martin [Odegaard] at the moment which could have a real effect on the team.
The team has reacted in a way that they have not used any excuses, just faced the challenge ahead of them and get others to raise their individual performance for the team and this is what they did.
With the form and leadership Lacazette is showing is that the level of player that you’d be keen to keep at the club?
Well when you’re facing difficult moments it’s about again how you react to them and Laca has done that in a really positive way. He’s got moments like any other striker in the world where he’s not going to be scoring. It’s about how you react to that.
And I think the team is enjoying to play with him because he knows the team is ahead of anything. He’s not a selfish striker at all but he’s got this ambition to score in every game which a striker needs. He’s complimenting those two things in a really clever and efficient way.
Is there any movement on a new deal for Lacazette at the moment?
Yes, that he recovers today and he scores more goals.
Has something clicked with Nicolas Pepe now and has it taken personal sessions and private conversations to get him to this level?
Yes and to try to convince him. But probably the biggest thing is when you see that you don’t play and what you have to play and when you do it you play.
Nico has this ability. It depends on him. We can help him as much as we want but he needs to have the right mindset and the consistency to do what he can do. Because that’s the level that we’re going to ask, that’s the level that I’m going to ask him. If it’s something below that then he’s not going to play. If he does what he can do he will have a big chance to play because he’s got an incredible ability.
Has there been a change in that mindset recently?
I think he needed to do that. Yeah. He needed a period of adaptation and this is gone now so we cannot rely on adaptation again. Now it’s about performance and he can do it. He’s got players to support him, he’s got a manager that trusts him, he’s got all the staff that are willing to help him and he’s got all the teammates that really like him because he’s a very likeable character. So there’s no excuses.
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How often have your paths crossed with Scott Parker and is it good to see young managers being given a chance in the Premier League?
Well I played a lot of times against Scott. We had some battles. We have some common friends and people in the football world that we know each other quite well. I’m really happy for him, for the work that he’s doing. Again I’ve said I think they’ve been really unlucky in some games this season that could have put his job in a different perspective. But still I think anybody that is around him knows the man and then knows the professional that is behind and I wish him all the best.