EPL superstar Mesut Ozil slammed by former Arsenal manager Unai Emery
- EPL midfielder Mesut Ozil's attitude has been criticized by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery
- The Spaniard spent 18 months in the EPL and was replaced by former club captain Mikel Arteta in December 2019
Former English Premier League ( EPL ) manager Unai Emery has opened up on his stint as Arsenal manager. Speaking to the Guardian's Sid Lowe, the Spaniard expressed his sadness at how quickly his tenure as Gunners boss turned sour.
The EPL is the most competitive league in world football, and Emery was quick to point out that Ozil didn't try hard enough to be the best player he could be.
"I spoke a lot with Özil. He has to be self‑critical too, analyse his attitude and commitment. I tried with all my might to help Özil. Throughout my career, talented players have reached their best level with me. I was always positive, wanting him to play, be involved."
The former EPL manager affirmed that while Ozil's talent was unquestionable, his commitment wasn't of the required standard.
Emery's EPL dream turned sour quickly
Emery went on to add that the German international was in contention to be named Arsenal captain, but the players weren't in favour of it.
“In pre-season I told him I wanted to help recover the best Özil. 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, teammates.”
Arsenal's 2017-18 EPL campaign got off to a good start, and the Gunners were well placed to secure a top-four finish.
However, an embarrassing capitulation towards the end of the EPL campaign followed by a 4-1 demolition in the Europa League final against Chelsea proved to be detrimental for Emery.
The Spaniard claimed that the EPL superstars fitness was also a significant concern, adding that Ozil simply wasn't reliable enough.
“Sometimes they were better, sometimes worse, like all players. Sometimes he wasn’t available because he was ill or his knee hurt. Watford was his first after the robbery, and I put him [straight] in.
"I was always open to talking, he was always in my plans, but he had to do his bit. And there were things I couldn’t control.”
The former Sevilla boss felt at home after a reasonable start to life in England, but Arsenal imploded in the business end of the season.
“I thought: ‘This is my team.’ People said: ‘Unai, we can see your personality in this side.’ We reached Arsenal’s first [European] final in 13 years, playing very well against Napoli and Valencia. Finishing third was in reach but we lost four decisive points against Crystal Palace and Brighton.”
Emery's Arsenal tenure ended in November 2019, as the EPL outfit reluctantly parted company with the Spaniard. Freddie Ljungberg took over as interim boss and after a few weeks of negotiations, former club captain Mikel Arteta took over the reins at the Emirates Stadium.