Arsene Wenger felt Sead Kolasinac made an ‘outstanding’ Arsenal debut against Chelsea, having initially had doubts whether to play the defender at Wembley.
Kolasinac, signed on a free transfer from Schalke, started Sunday’s Community Shield on the substitutes’ bench, but had to come on for his debut earlier than expected when Per Mertesacker suffered a first-half head injury.
The 24-year-old produced an impressive display, heading in Arsenal’s equaliser with eight minutes remaining as the Gunners claimed a 1-1 draw, before going on to win 4-1 on penalties and claim the first silverware of the English season.
‘He came on well,’ Wenger told reporters about Kolasinac.
‘He is normally a wing-back, full-back but he can as well play as a centre-back.
‘He had a very interesting performance last week and I had a hesitation about playing him from the start, because I thought maybe Wembley with the pressure – but when he came on he was outstanding.’
Asked if Kolasinac’s power would help him to adapt in England, Wenger said: ‘He is physical, very strong, naturally. You have players who are pumped up in the gym and you have players who are born strong. He is the second part.
‘In the Premier League the power plays a part, but it is not only that. I took him too because of attitude.
‘The game does not tolerate as many weaknesses as it did 20 years ago. You need the combination of talent and attitude.
‘He looks to me like he has the talent, but also has a very strong attitude.’
Striker Alexandre Lacazette, meanwhile, hit the post in the first half of his competitive debut and Wenger feels the €60-million signing is looking better with every outing.
‘Lacazette is stronger every week,’ said the manager.
‘He had an interesting game today. I believe [this match] is the first time that you have seen physically that he is ready.
‘He still needs to adapt to the intensity of the game, but overall he had very interesting moves and I believe that after what we have seen [against Chelsea] he will become stronger and stronger.’
– This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za
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