Mikel Arteta believes captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has responded well to recent adversity; Arsenal travel to third-placed Leicester on Sunday in PL; Arteta praised 'manager of the season candidate' Brendan Rodgers
Friday 26 February 2021 12:22, UK
Mikel Arteta praised Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's response to recent "difficult moments" as he highlighted a moment on the Arsenal training ground which proved his captain's desire.
Aubameyang's late header saw the Gunners advance into the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday night - a 3-2 victory enough to see off Benfica, who had been heading through on away goals until that point.
Arteta has been pleased with Aubameyang's response to his recent tribulations and - ahead of Sunday's Premier League trip to Leicester - revealed a training ground miss showed how hungry the forward remains.
"Sometimes when you go through difficult moments, you can have those difficult moments and get into a sad mode," Arteta said of his skipper who recently missed three games to visit his ill mother.
"I think that's the worst thing you can do because nobody has to feel sorry for themselves when you're having those moments.
"What you have to do is get upset, get angry, work harder and approach the situation and face it.
"Face the challenge in a way that creates more motivation and more hunger to do it and I think in recent weeks I've seen that reaction.
"For example, in a training session before we played here, he missed a penalty and he was really upset.
"Instead of going sad, he got upset and I said to the coaching staff that I like that and that he would be fine tomorrow (against Benfica). When you have that mentality, I think that's the right way to approach it."
Arteta will be hoping he can rely on Aubameyang again this weekend as he takes his side to Leicester.
While Manchester City continue to lead the way, Arteta admits Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers will have to be in the running for manager of the year as he continues to defy the odds.
"Obviously what Manchester City are achieving at the moment is phenomenal," Arteta added.
"It's unprecedented and that has to be rewarded but as I mentioned before, what Leicester have done in recent years, what they have already achieved this season, with the level of consistency that they've shown in the Premier League, I think (Rodgers winning the award) is something to consider."