‘It is too early to talk because they can appeal’: Alexandre Lacazette warns Arsenal cannot rely on Manchester City’s ban if they wish to qualify for the Champions League next season
- Alexandre Lacazette insists Arsenal must continue fighting for a top four place
- Fifth place in the Premier League could lead to Champions League qualification
- Manchester City’s two-year ban has opened up a potential European spot
- But Lacazette warns Arsenal cannot rely on technicalities with City set to appeal
Alexandre Lacazette insists Arsenal cannot rely on Manchester City’s European ban in their pursuit of Champions League football because it would come as no surprise if the decision was overturned.
City were last week banned from European competitions for the next two seasons over breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations, a UEFA decision which could open the door to the Premier League’s chasing pack.
Arsenal are now only six points off fifth after Sunday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle, which saw Lacazette end his nine-game wait for a goal.
Alexandre Lacazette insists Arsenal must still target a top four place to try and qualify for next season’s Champions League despite the European ban handed out to Manchester City
But the Frenchman says 10th-place Arsenal must worry only about what they can control.
On whether City’s ban has the Gunners squad discussing a potential Champions League return, he said: ‘I think it is early to talk because they can do an appeal and often it happens in football that, what do they say, it gets cancelled.
‘So us, we just focus on ourselves and we just play our football.’
Arsenal have a favourable run of games over the next few weeks but their No 9 insisted: ‘Even without this we just want to win for the team and fans and to be as high as possible.’
City have been banned by UEFA for two seasons for breaching Financial Fair Play rules
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Lacazette created Arsenal’s third goal at the Emirates before netting himself in the closing stages. He was mobbed by his team-mates after finally ending one of the worst streaks of his career.
‘I am really, really happy because I waited for this moment for a long time. As well, I am touched 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,’ he said.
‘It was 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.
Manager Mikel Arteta dropped him to the bench for the visit of Newcastle, handing Eddie Nketiah a rare chance to lead the line.
Lacazette was mobbed by team-mates after ending his nine-game goal drought on Sunday in the 4-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium
But Arteta later revealed he told Lacazette he would score after coming on and so it proved.
‘He talked with me to give me confidence,’ Lacazette said. ‘He demands a lot of things. 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’.
Nicolas Pepe shone for the Gunners in the 4-0 victory, scoring one and creating two goals.
After the winger’s tough start to life in England, Lacazette is confident we will soon see the best of their £72million record signing.
Lacazette has backed Nicolas Pepe (centre) to continue improving at the Gunners after his star showing against Newcastle, where he scored once and provided two assists
‘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,’ Lacazette 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.’
On whether he gave Pepe advice about the transition from France to England, Lacazette added: ‘Yes a bit, but it is always hard because everybody is different. Everybody reacts differently in situations. I talk a little bit with him but he can just learn himself with time.’