Mikel Arteta insisted that he has full confidence in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the striker scored twice to help Arsenal beat Benfica in the Europa League.
Arsenal were on the verge of being knocked out of the competition when they found themselves 2-1 down.
Even after equalising, they were still set to lose on away goals – before Aubameyang headed home three minutes from time to seal a 4-3 aggregate win.
It made up for the captain missing a number of chances in the first leg, and Arteta admits he never lost faith.
“I completely trust him because he is the producing the chances and you know when Auba has chances he’s going to score goals,” the Arsenal boss said.
“The last few days after the game in Rome against them, where he missed three or four opportunities and normally they are three goals for him, he needed to react, and it was great to see the way he reacted is being upset and trying to be better – and not just feeling sad for yourself in this moment.
“I am really pleased with what he’s done tonight.”
Nearly a year to the day earlier, Aubameyang had missed a golden chance which ultimately led to Arsenal’s elimination at the same stage of the competition.
He was able to put those memories behind him in exactly the same venue. Arteta noticed the significance of that twist of fate.
“Yes, that is to be fair the first image that came through my mind when he scored,” he said.
“We didn’t know if the VAR was going to allow the goal and then the last action when they were offside as well and had a chance.
“This is the beautiful thing about football, if you keep going you always have the chance to put it right.”
Aubameyang hails Arsenal character
Match winner Aubameyang was equally pleased after the match, praising his teammates for their character.
The striker hopes they can use those qualities again in future challenges.
“Everyone is happy tonight,” he told BT Sport. “Definitely, I had this in my head, but this is what gives me power every day, to take the error from the past and transform it to strength.
“Tonight I’m really happy that we won the game.
“The team showed character, a lot of character and I think we deserved the win. It was a hard game, but tonight I’m really happy for the team.
“What we showed tonight, I think it’s going to be an example for the future.”