Unai Emery has criticised Mesut Ozil’s attitude and commitment during his time as Arsenal head coach and says the rest of the squad did not want the German to be captain.
Emery was sacked in November after the club suffered their worst run of form since 1992 and was initially replaced with Freddie Ljungberg before Mikel Arteta was handed the job permanently.
Ozil was rarely trusted as a regular starter during Emery’s reign and made just one Premier League appearance in the first 10 games of the season, but his former boss insists he tried his best to help him.
“I spoke a lot with Ozil. He has to be self‑critical too, analyse his attitude and commitment,” Emery told The Guardian.
“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,” he said.
Emery also revealed that he urged the Arsenal board to sign Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha over Nicolas Pepe last summer.
Arsenal failed in their bid to sign Zaha after Palace turned down a £40m bid and refused to lower their £80m asking price. The Gunners then opted for Pepe, who joined from French club Lille for a fee of £72m.
RELATED STORY: Arsenal left their soul at Highbury – Wenger
By Sky Sports