(Reuters) - Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has dismissed criticism of his debut season in the Premier League, saying he has learnt from the previous term and is keen to improve his goal tally.
The France international joined Arsenal for a club record fee last year but had an underwhelming campaign, scoring 17 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions, leading to criticism from a section of pundits and fans.
“I don’t care how people judge me,” Lacazette told Football London. “I know if I stay in Arsenal the club is happy and my team-mates as well. This is the most important thing.
“It (last season) has finished and for me it’s the past. OK, when I didn’t score, of course I was frustrated but it’s finished. It was my first season so I can’t be too hard on myself, even if I wanted to score more goals.
“I’ve learnt from this and now I am happy to start a new season.”
Arsenal recruited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund in January, with many seeing the move as an indication of Lacazette’s poor form, but the 27-year-old has dismissed the notion and denies a rivalry with his fellow forward.
“I never said it (Aubameyang’s arrival) was bad for me, only people in the press said it was bad,” Lacazette he said. “I was happy because I knew I could play with him.
“I didn’t see him as a rival, more like a team-mate, so since the beginning I was happy about his signature.”
Both Lacazette and Aubameyang have impressed for Arsenal in pre-season and will be hoping to continue their form as the north London outfit host champions Manchester City in their opening league match on Aug. 12.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru