Mikel Arteta has told Mesut Ozil he faces being axed at Arsenal if he doesn’t buy into the manager’s work ethic.
Ozil has started both Arteta’s games in charge so far, with his performance in Sunday’s defeat at home to Chelsea drawing particular praise.
The German’s promising start to life under Arteta has raised hopes the mercurial midfielder could finally rediscover the form that once made him one of the world’s best playmakers.
Mikel Arteta has warned Mesut Ozil he faces the axe if he fails to buy into his work ethic
Ozil was sidelined during Unai Emery’s reign as the Spaniard felt the 31-year-old did not possess the discipline or energy to fit into his style. And Arteta has told Ozil he would not have any problem dropping him if he doesn’t buy into his philosophy.
Asked whether he wished to build his team around Ozil, the Arsenal manager answered: ‘No, I put him in the team if I see every day that his attitude, desire and understanding of what we’re trying to do is there. He has the will and if he is in a better moment than somebody else, I will pick him. The moment this changes, he won’t play.’
Ozil has been forced to live with regular accusations that he lacks toughness. But Arteta, who shared a dressing room with Ozil for three years as a player, doesn’t agree with those who believe the former Real Madrid man is only a luxury player.
‘I hope he can sustain this level every three or four days. He’s putting in everything he has to try and do that, and I think his numbers physically have improved so much as well. He’s willing every day in training,’ said the Spaniard.
Mikel Arteta has warned Ozil that he could be dropped if he doesn’t buy into his work ethic
‘I know him well, so I’m not surprised. I know about his ability and I know the player we have there. As well, the structure has to be there to be able to help him to produce everything that he has inside.
‘On his own, he can’t do it. He needs the collective structure and organisation and his team-mates. Nowadays, there are only one or two players in the world who can do something on their own. He needs help and he needs the team to play in a certain way to facilitate his strengths more and more in the game.’
Arteta aims to secure his first win as Arsenal boss against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
But the 37-year-old admits he has a job on his hands to raise spirits following Sunday’s loss to Chelsea, which saw the Gunners concede twice in the final seven minutes to lose 2-1.
Mikel Arteta hopes that he can help inspire a turn of fortunes for Mesut Ozil at Arsenal
Arteta added: ‘My worry now is that the defeat affects confidence. I hope the result doesn’t affect them too much.
‘They were all physically blown and disappointed in how the game ended because they don’t feel they deserved that, but we have to move on.
‘They have to respond and this is the challenge now. Every game for us is must win. Against any opponent we have to win. We are Arsenal and these are the demands. The level of pressure is different when you look up the table or down.
‘At the moment I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the table, but to our performance. and the result relating to the performance that we can put on the pitch.’