Soccer

Arteta explains why Aubameyang rushed down tunnel after Arsenal substitution

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed he has the stomach for the fight – before coming off with tummy trouble.

Aubameyang scored his first brace since August and Bukayo Saka added a third as Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run to six matches.

But Mikel Arteta, who praised his star striker’s mental strength for coming through a sticky patch, then revealed he was forced to take him off.

Arsenal boss Arteta said: “He had to go in so we had to change it. It was just a little stomach issue, that’s all.

“He needed that for his confidence and the team needs that to be successful. We need him at his best.

“We were missing his goals. He had two or three really big chances in the first half which he didn't score. But those goals today will give him good confidence.

“That’s what he’s done through his career. You have to be mentally strong. He has come through a difficult period and scored two.

“Internally you are the one who suffers. He knows how important he is for our success.”

Defeat left Newcastle winless in nine, and came just days after Steve Bruce had branded his side “hopeless”.

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Asked whether he was still the right man to save them, Bruce said: “Yes. 100 per cent. We are having a difficult moment. That bit of confidence ebbs away.

“We have to keep working away and hope that confidence returns. You will have tough moments if you're in the Premier League and in the bottom half.

“We have to dust ourselves down, get that confidence back and try and win games wherever we can.”

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