Unai Emery has delivered a revealing insight into his relationship with Mesut Ozil while he was in charge of Arsenal.
The German playmaker struggled to hit top form under the Spanish head coach and was consigned to the bench on a number of occasions after failing to impress the former Arsenal boss.
Emery was eventually sacked by Arsenal at the end of last year after a disappointing start to the season, and Ozil has been playing a more regular role in the first team since Mikel Arteta took charge from his compatriot.
The 31-year-old World Cup winner has been a target for criticism in recent months due to his lack of consistent performances for Arsenal, with the former Real Madrid man having only scored one goal and made two assists in 18 Premier League games so far this season.
Former Arsenal boss Emery has now opened up about his relationship with Ozil while he was in charge of the north London side.
Speaking in an interview with the Guardian, Emery said: “I spoke a lot with Ozil. He has to be self‑critical too, analyse his attitude and commitment.
“I tried with all my might to help Ozil. Throughout my career, talented players have reached their best level with me. I was always positive, wanting him to play, be involved.
“In pre-season I told him I wanted to help recover the best Ozil. I wanted a high level of participation and commitment in the dressing room.
“I respected him and thought he could help. He could have been a captain but the dressing room didn’t want him to be.
“That’s not what I decided; that’s what the players decided. Captains are ones who have to keep defending the club, the coach, team-mates.”
Arsenal are currently off the pace in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League, with the Gunners ninth and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC, although they do have a game in hand over the Blues.
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