Mikel Arteta hails ‘great debut’ from Nuno Tavares

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (PA Wire)
17:59pm, Sat 17 Jul 2021
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was pleased with Nuno Tavares’s scoring debut in the 2-2 friendly draw with Rangers at Ibrox.

The 21-year-old Portuguese left-back, signed from Benfica last weekend, levelled in the 23rd minute with a drive from close range after Gers defender Leon Balogun had opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a header from a James Tavernier corner.

The London club controlled the game for the most part and missed a series of chances but fell behind in the 75th minute when Gers striker Cedric Itten headed in a corner from fellow substitute Glenn Middleton – but that was cancelled out in the 83rd minute by Arsenal replacement Eddie Nketiah.

Former Gers midfielder Arteta, given a good reception by the 2,000 home fans allowed inside the stadium, said of Tavares on Arsenal’s official website: “Great debut, (scoring) with his right foot as well.

“He has only been with us a few days but you can already see his qualities, his physicality and the quality he has on the ball as well.

“He is integrating with the lads really well, so it is a good start.”

Tavares, who was replaced at half-time, said: “I feel very happy with my first goal for Arsenal. I was so excited for this and today I did it.

“I felt good. It was a good game for me and for us. A good test. I think we had a good match and we learned a lot.”

On the overall performance, following a 2-1 defeat at Hibernian, Arteta said: “I’m really pleased with the performance.

“I think we dominated the game, we created so many chances – I counted about eight or 10 clear chances to score – but this game is decided in both boxes.

“We created so many chances but we are not converting enough.

“Today we should’ve scored many more goals and with the quality of the players we have up front, they have to demand much more of themselves.

“But at least we are getting there, the process is becoming much clearer, much better.

“Without the ball as well, we worked really hard and were really efficient.

“We won a lot of balls in the final third so there are a lot of positives to take.

“It’s much better from the other day and physically we were already better in the second game.

“The organisation was better, individually they played better, but I really liked the collective understanding of the game and how we executed a lot of things we’ve been working on in the training pitch.”

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