Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe has taken a swipe at Mikel Arteta by saying he has not been able to produce his best due to a lack of game time this campaign.
The £72million signing from Lille has started just one Premier League game this season which is the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City, and has been played more in cup competitions.
Pepe featured in both of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup wins against Leicester City and Liverpool and has impressed with two goals and two assists in the Europa League.
But despite his good return in those competitions, he has suggested he is not happy at Arsenal and is currently playing football without a smile on his face at the club.
‘My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time,’ Pepe told French outlet Canal Plus. ‘A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again.
‘He [Arteta] wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend.
‘But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench.
- Bruno Fernandes furious with Greenwood’s lazy display in Man Utd training
- Mourinho names six clubs that can win the Premier League this season
‘A super-sub role? The coach makes his choices. It’s up to me to show him that I don’t have that role.’
Pepe has had a mixed career at the Emirates since joining the club from Lille last year.
The Ivory Coast international managed just eight goals and 10 assists in his first campaign as the Gunners went on to lift the FA Cup. But this season, his only league goal came in their 2-1 win over Sheffield United.