Nicolas Pepe admits his two goals on Thursday will be good for his confidence, as he feels he hadn’t adapted quickly enough so far.
Pepe scored in the 80th minute and the 91st minute to turn a defeat into victory over Victoria SC on Thursday.
Both goals came from free-kicks, and the 24-year-old had his set-piece delivery spot on throughout his cameo, floating in a fantastic ball for Rob Holding to go close with a header and taking a couple of good corners as well.
After the game, the winger admitted he needed those goals to help him mentally, as he feels he’s still adapting to a difficult new footballing challenge.
“Scoring two goals is good for the confidence. I managed to score the first free-kick, then the second and it’s good for the team and for myself.” Pepe said. “The most important though is that there is a win at the end. It shows our mental strength and our character.
“The manager trusts me. Even if I hadn’t been decisive for a while, I always had the manager’s trust. It is always important to have the manager’s faith.
“It has been hard to keep my confidence high. I knew it would be harder. It is a league totally different to Ligue 1. With a different intensity. For me, I had to adapt quickly because expectations were high.
“Unfortunately, it is not what I did at the beginning but I have always had the manager’s trust and the players have supported me. I keep working hard to perform well and adapt to the Premier League.”
A couple of goals have Pepe’s stats looking a lot rosier. He has three goals and three assists in his last nine club games, plus another goal in his one match on international duty in that time.
That means that since September 1st, Pepe has directly contributed to more goals (seven) than Manchester United have scored (six). Not terrible reading given the player was being written off by some earlier this week.
Pepe is also still top of the club’s leaderboard for chances created, with 15 in all competitions. He’s second in the entire Premier League for dribbles completed too, and if he adds goals to all of that he’ll be a great winger for the club.