Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal will not ‘rush’ Gabriel Jesus as striker nears return for Gunners
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has warned it will take time for Gabriel Jesus to get back to his best.
Jesus took part in training on Wednesday morning ahead of the Gunners’ Europa League last-16 tie against Sporting.
The Brazilian has been out of action since injuring his knee at the World Cup and is closing in on a return.
Arsenal and Arteta, however, refused to confirm if Jesus had travelled to Lisbon for Thursday’s game, with the latter warning the striker needs time to get firing again.
“We will try not to rush him back,” said Arteta. “We will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he is comfortable and as well giving the team a boost that it’s going to need in the next few weeks for sure.
“Everything is going well, he needs time as well to get himself that confidence and that physical state that is necessary to compete with a free mind and once he’s free to do that, we will throw him in.
“News on the squad will be tomorrow. We have brought a few players and you will see tomorrow who is available.”
Arsenal will definitely be without forwards Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Leandro Trossard (groin) for the game with Sporting. Left-back Kieran Tierney is also out due to illness. The trio will be assessed ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Fulham on Sunday.
“Let’s see how they evolve,” said Arteta. “Obviously we’ve had a few issues in the last few days and I am trying to accommodate everybody and get everyone in the best possible condition for tomorrow.”
Arteta is expected to make changes on Thursday night, with the Gunners flying high at the top of the Premier League.
He is, however, unlike to field a completely new XI after fielding strong teams in cup competitions this season.
“Of course everyone wants to play,” said Arteta. “It’s true as well when we’ve wanted to rotate players they’ve been injured and unavailable. Tomorrow that may be the case.
“Sometimes it’s been difficult and players have to deserve to play the minutes. Being fair in football is very difficult.
“You have to be really good at communicating your decisions to help players understand what you do, but all the time you have to think for the best of the team.
“We want everybody to feel important and we are going to try to make them feel like that.”