LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal’s France striker Alexandre Lacazette said he was back to full fitness following recent knee surgery and growing in confidence after scoring twice in a 4-1 Europa League quarter-final first leg win at home to CSKA Moscow on Thursday.
He was made his first start for Arsenal in over two months and scored with a penalty followed by a well placed finish from the edge of the area to add to Sunday’s spot kick in a 3-0 win over Stoke City in the Premier League.
“I’m happy, it’s my first game when I start, I feel good on the pitch and I’m happy that I scored,” Lacazette, who had minor surgery on his left knee, told reporters.
“The surgery is behind me so now I can play 100 percent... A few times before my surgery I felt pain, so I talked with the medical staff and it was the best solution and now I don’t regret it.”
The Frenchman, who had scored once in his previous 11 league appearances before the knee problem, said it was a frustration that his first season at Arsenal had been interrupted by injury.
He also praised fellow striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for helping him get back among the goals by giving him the ball to take the penalty against Stoke at the weekend.
“He is a great guy, really nice with everybody and for me it was good for my confidence,” he said.
Winning the Europa League is Arsenal’s only realistic chance of getting into next year’s Champions League and next month’s final is in Lyon, the city and club Lacazette left for London.
He joined Arsenal for a fee of up to 60 million euros ($73.43 million) in the close season and would love to win silverware in his first season.
Asked how it would feel if Arsenal could lift the trophy at his old Olympique Lyonnais stomping ground he said: “It will be maybe the best day of my life.”
Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Ken Ferris