Arsenal Manager: “I Don’t Worry About Özil…He Will Adapt”
The £42.4 million summer signing’s performances have come under intense scrutiny, which culminated in a missed penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Wenger believes that the former Real Madrid man is putting too much pressure on himself.
“I never tell Mesut: ‘You have to win us the game.’ He shouldn’t do that. It’s down to the performance of the team. But maybe he feels that a bit in a different way than I do. I just want him to enjoy it and play well.
“It is difficult for him mentally to be confronted with that pressure every three days and in every single competition. But he will adapt. He had a difficult game [against Bayern] because he missed that penalty and it was on his mind. Sometimes, when you are under this kind of pressure, it’s good to refresh,” he declared.
The 25-year-old has played a great deal of football since his arrival in September and is entitled to need a brief break from action as he acclimatises to a hectic winter schedule in England. However, despite the German enduring a poor run in form Wenger is adamant he has both the talent and character to bounce back during the run-in.
“I don’t worry about Özil. He has gone a little bit through a difficult time. It can happen to anybody. He looks all right. He loves to play. You give him a ball and he’s happy. That’s the most important thing. And he has the quality. You always have to be behind your players. The best way is to show him support,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman was defensive when pressed on his decision to let the players have Sunday and Monday off earlier in the week.
“Many clubs have two days off. We played since the beginning of December, we don’t have to justify why we have two days off. I don’t see why that suddenly is a problem. It’s unbelievable. We are in a society where everybody wants to control everything. It is unusual? We are entitled to do unusual things,” Wenger said.
With Özil expected to return to the first team on Saturday, he will face a resurgent Stoke side at the Britannia Stadium, which has been a location that has provided defining moments in the Gunners season in recent years.
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