Unai Emery has slammed Mesut Ozil’s “attitude and commitment”, claiming the Arsenal squad didn’t want the German to be installed as captain.
Ozil was rarely trusted as a regular starter during Emery’s reign at the Emirates Stadium, though the former coach says he tried his best to be positive with him.
But Emery thinks Ozil’s inconsistency in performances is something that is simply down to the player himself.
“In the end he has to look at himself,” Emery told the Daily Mail . “At his attitude and his commitment.
“I tried my utmost to help Ozil. Throughout my career, talented players have been my favourites and they have played at their best or close to their best with me.
“I was always positive with him in terms of wanting him to be involved, but then the attitude that he adopted, and the commitment levels, well, they weren’t enough.
“One of the captains could possibly have been Ozil but the dressing room didn’t want him to be captain.
“His level of commitment was not that of someone who deserved to be captain, and that’s not what I decided, that’s what the players decided.”
Emery pointed to Arsenal’s 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea in last year’s Europa League final as an example of Ozil’s alleged lack of commitment.
While the Spaniard had no problem with his performance in the game, he was disappointed when Ozil was the only player not to turn up for an individual talk with his manager the following day.
“In that game the commitment was there,” Emery said.
“We got back to London at eight in the morning and I went home, slept three hours, and then went back to Colney.
“I had meetings with all the players that day. Individual half-hour chats with each one. Only Ozil didn’t want to come.
“I don’t know [why]. He didn’t come. And that’s what we’re saying when we talk about commitment. When the commitment is 100 per cent then everyone comes.”
Emery was replaced earlier this season, with Freddie Ljungberg taking interim charge before Mikel Arteta was brought back from Manchester City.
Defender Shkodran Mustafi has said he believes Arteta now has the whole squad, Ozil included, pulling in the same direction – which may not have been the case under Emery.