Arsenal boss Arteta hails Saka impact after win at Olympiakos

Saka has 9 assists this season. (AP pic)

LONDON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Bukayo Saka for handling the pressure in his breakthrough season after the English teenager set up Alexandre Lacazette to score the winner at Olympiakos Piraeus in their Europa League clash on Thursday.

Saka’s low cross was tucked away by Lacazette in the 81st minute of the last 32, first leg encounter.

The 18-year-old has contributed nine assists this season, more than any other player, despite playing the majority of the season out of position at leftback.

“He’s not a fullback, but he’s responding really well in the right way, he’s got a lot of courage,” Arteta told BT Sport.

“He made a lot of good positions in final third and most of the chances came from his side. I’m very pleased with his performance.”

Arteta was also pleased with how Lacazette’s teammates had helped him break out of his goal drought.

The French striker has found the net in his last two games after going nine matches without a goal.

“That confidence and support came from me and his teammates,” Arteta added.

“The way they reacted when he scored, that was a lift. That’s not just a coincidence.

“It’s something that happens because the energy of the team is putting energy into him as well.”