Nicolas Pepe impressed Jose Mourinho during visits to Lille following Manchester United exit

Jose Mourinho watched Nicolas Pepe in action after his Manchester United sacking
Mourinho watched Pepe in action after his United sacking (Picture: Getty)

Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Nicolas Pepe, but urged Unai Emery to play to the forward’s strengths.

Pepe started alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the first time in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham, grabbing his first assist for his side.

Mourinho watched Pepe in action several times last season after losing his job at Manchester United and explained the 24-year-old’s best position.

‘Last season after I left United, I went a few times to Lille because my friend is the coach there [Christophe Galtier] so I know quite a lot about his qualities,’ Mourinho said on Sky Sports.

Nicolas Pepe lit up Ligue 1 last season at Lille
Pepe lit up Ligue 1 last season at Lille (Picture: Getty)

‘They were playing 4-4-2 and he was the right sided player.

‘He knows how to defend, to play in the 4-4-2 as the right winger, you know how to defend, not only that area but also the inside.

‘He does that very well. When he has the ball and also without the ball, he is very effective and very direct.

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‘The goals that he misses against Arsenal, he normally doesn’t miss it.

‘He’s very cool in front of the keeper and I think this boy has fantastic potential.

‘To play as they did last weekend against Liverpool, was out of his natural habitat.

‘If they are to play three in midfield with him, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the front, looking to the movements, I think they can make it a real force.’

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