Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that the Gunners will continue to manage Gabriel Jesus' minutes as he continues his comeback from a knee injury. The Spaniard also suggested legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal would be 'his Julia Roberts' after Pep Guardiola's comments following his side's win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
Jesus finally returned to action against Fulham on Sunday after missing almost three months of action with a knee injury suffered while representing Brazil at the World Cup. The Gunners have coped well in his absence and Arteta has stressed he will continue to manage his No 9's minutes as he works up his match fitness.
"You can feel the happiness of everybody around him," he said when asked about Jesus' return ahead of the Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon. "We have missed him and we have to manage his minutes, manage his involvement in the squad. In training his sensations are getting better and better so that's really positive."
Arteta was also asked who would be 'his Juila Roberts' after Guardiola expressed his disappointment that the Hollywood actress had never come to watch his side but had taken up an invitation to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford. After some, deliberation, the Arsenal boss chose fellow countryman, Nadal.
"Someone that I have my for a long long time is Rafa Nadal," he explained. "Because of his mentality, the way he's won it, how many times he's bounced back so he would be top of my list for sure".
However, Arteta's updates were not all light-hearted and positive with the 40-year-old confirming that Eddie Nketiah would still be missing for 'weeks' with an ankle injury.
"Yeah, he's getting better," he replied when asked about the English striker. "He’s still in the boot.
"He’s still a few weeks away and we need to be patient. It was a nasty injury and he has a big challenge ahead of him. Thank God it’s not as bad as it could have been".
Arsenal's match against Sporting Lisbon gets underway at 8pm with the Emirates faithful hoping to cheer their team on to a quarter-final place.
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