After Arsenal’s Europa League win over Benfica – despite hooking up the Real Madrid loanee after two gaffes – Mikel Arteta gave special praise to Dani Ceballos.
Arsenal manager Arteta also praised the character of his squad for displaying courage after coming back from the verge of tragedy after two expensive errors by Ceballos gifted Benfica a way back into the game.
But Arteta, whose side is now going into the last 16 draws on Friday, instantly forgave Ceballos, despite replacing him in the second half after his second mistake.
Arteta said: “I’m particularly pleased with Dani, he leads his career as if it were the most important thing in his life. When he made that mistake, it would have been difficult if it meant we were out of the race. Somebody like him deserves to have positive stuff happen to him.
But there were two objectives we gave them. You are going to be in trouble when you do so. After that, the team’s reaction gave me hope.”
For the rest of Arsenal’s season, Arteta also believes victory can be a springboard.
Arteta added: “This keeps the season going, which is for certain. After what had happened in the two legs to get out, today would have been very harsh. And I’m very glad to be going through it.
It was a really hard one to swallow last year against Olympiacos. It is very vital to have some wonderful moments to enjoy together as a team. It’s far more effective and compelling for others when a good experience is at the back of your mind.”