Steve Bould was impressed with Pablo Mari’s first display in an Arsenal shirt on Monday.
Arsenal have secured the services of the 26-year-old central defender on loan until the end of the season from Flamengo and he played the first 45 minutes of the Under-23s’ 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Monday night.
Mari started alongside Rob Holding in Arsenal’s rearguard and the pair were a steadying influence on Bould’s young Gunners.
“It’s fabulous for the young players to play alongside them,” said Bould as cited by Goal. “It’s a learning programme and we don’t very often get older boys and men playing with us, and that’s how I learned my game when I was a kid so it’s something we miss out on lots of times.
“It was actually a very good game for them to come in to. I think Chelsea’s striker is a good player and they have good players all over the park so it was a good test for them and a good 45 minutes. I’m sure they will go on and use that for first-team value.
“I thought the performance was really really good, especially in the second half. I think they edged the first half they had a bit more of the ball and we struggled a little bit to retain it.
“In the second half, the boys have done everything that we’ve asked of them and I couldn’t ask of any more from them apart from scoring another goal.”
Winger Trae Coyle, on his return from injury, said: “We’ve played with Rob (Holding) a lot of times and he’s always been good with us.
“Obviously he has so much ability and I was very impressed with Pablo as well. Playing with those two was definitely a big help today.
“We played well, it’s disappointing because I felt like we had the better chances so it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t take any points,” he added. “We’ll go again next week and hopefully we can put it right.”