Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that he has been impressed with £72m signing Nicolas Pépé this season, but is eager for the winger to rediscover his goalscoring form soon.
The Ivorian has just one goal from his nine Premier League appearances so far, and should have added a second in Monday's 1-0 loss to Sheffield United. Before conceding the only goal of the game, Pépé sliced a fantastic chance to open the scoring, and it proved to be costly.
Speaking after the game, Emery confessed that the miss changed the complexion of the game, but he still believes that Pépé will become a key player for Arsenal.
"The chance for us, for Pépé, was the key," Emery said, as quoted by Metro. "Because if they score the first goal, defensively they are a very strong team.
"Pépé is improving but the next step for him is to score. Usually he is going to score chances like that – but tonight he didn’t take his chance."
The 24-year-old has come under intense scrutiny for his displays since the start of the season, with many supporters expecting a lot more from the club's record signing. With just one goal - a penalty given to him by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - and three assists in his first 11 games in all competitions, he is yet to showcase the form which saw him rise to stardom with Lille last season.
With the Ligue 1 side, Pépé racked up 23 goals and 12 assists last season, but he has struggled to bring that form over to the Premier League.
Despite his underwhelming form, Emery was adamant that Pépé is improving, but he again reiterated the importance of finding the back of the net again.
"We had more possession, more chances, more shots and for example, Pépé is improving and I think Pépé’s way with us is little-by-little getting better," he said.
"The next step is to score. Tonight for example, the best chance is one he is usually going to score but tonight he didn’t take that with efficiency. He also had two shots that were very important. I think he is improving and taking confidence with us. But it is one process."