Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus will not be rushed back into action, manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday after the striker returned to training with the team.
Jesus, who has scored five goals and chipped in seven assists for Arsenal following his 45 million pounds ($53.30 million) move from Manchester City in July, has been sidelined since he sustained a knee injury at the World Cup with Brazil, having surgery in early December.
“We will try not to rush him back. We will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he is comfortable,” Arteta told reporters on Wednesday, ahead of their match at Sporting in the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday.
“Everything is going well. He needs time as well to get himself that confidence and that physical state necessary to compete with a free mind, and once he’s free to do that, we will throw him in.”
Arteta said that Fabio Vieira had been suffering from a sore throat but would be available to play against Sporting.
Kieran Tierney, Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard were absent from Wednesday’s training, but Arteta said they were available for the match.
“Let’s see how they evolve. 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,” Arteta said.
The match will be the fifth meeting between the two teams in European competition, with Arsenal yet to lose or concede a goal.
“The best way to prepare for any competition is to win the previous match and have that confidence and that proper emotion to approach the next game,” Arteta said.
“Their strength is the idea of the manager, which is very clear. He (Ruben Amorim) has been very successful over the past years.
“We watched many of their matches v Tottenham and the big teams in Portugal. They are a very competitive team with a clear game plan. We need to be at our best to win this match.”
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