Debutants were ‘taken aback’ by EPL pace: Wenger

London, Sep 11 (IANS) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that new signings Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi were taken aback by the break-neck speed of the English Premier League (EPL) during debuts for the club.

The £50 million duo got their first taste of English football in the 2-1 win over Southampton FC on Saturday, though neither shone at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

When asked about the performances of Arsenal’s latest additions, Wenger felt the pace of the EPL may have shocked the imports from Spain’s La Liga.

“I feel both are short (of fitness) a bit. They lack competition and their second half was much better than their first half,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.

“They were a bit surprised by the pace and the commitment of the Premier League (but) they will adapt to that. As well, they were a bit on their nerves in the first half. In the second it was much better.”

Lucas was given a starting spot up front ahead of Olivier Giroud but will have been disappointed to have been substituted at the hour mark.

Wenger, though, reiterated fitness was the main issue.

“He has had one game in La Liga, and then he didn’t play many more because they knew he would go. Mustafi has only played one half since the start of the season with Valencia, so they are missing games,” he said.

–IANS

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