Unai Emery believes Arsenal and Mesut Ozil both stand to benefit from the midfielder’s retirement from international football although he accepts the player may have found it strange knocking about at London Colney during the Interlull.
Following a stressful summer that included becoming embroiled in a political controversy and his country’s shock early exit from the World Cup, Ozil took to social media to sever ties with the DFB alleging discrimination by certain individuals in its upper echelons.
Coach Joachim Loew suggested last week that a return was a non-starter, especially given the 29-year-old had refused to take his calls. It means Ozil’s sole football focus is Arsenal and for Emery, that’s a good thing.
“First the players have the habits to play in the international break, in important matches, defending their identity and when one player is finishing that, I think it is also good for them to focus only on their team,” he told his pre-Newcastle press conference.
“The reason for Mesut is important for me also, this focus every day with us, a relaxing three days off at the weekend. Mesut, like other players, works very well here and also working the ties and also together to improve things. Mesut, I look at him with the focus totally here.”
He added: “The first time, maybe, he could feel different [missing Germany matches] but every day with us in the work, I look at him and he looks well and happy, working with our demands every day.”
Just two weeks into the new season, there were rumours of a bust-up between Ozil and Emery. The Spaniard has repeatedly dismissed that suggestion and once again took the opportunity to underline the positive relationship he has with the German.
While at it, he also poured scorn on a story that claimed he’d told the Arsenal groundsmen not to water the pitch before the City game, a tactic that was supposed to slow down the passing of Pep’s team.
“[We get on] very well,” said Emery. “Here for me, it isn’t for a lot of the time speaking about what people are telling us. I have a very good relationship with Mesut and professionally I push him for improvements to give us the best in his qualities and performances.
“Also, I read this week in the newspapers in the match against Manchester City I say to the [groundsman], ‘Don’t put water on the pitch’ – it’s not true!
“This is the moment to say to you that I have a good relationship with Mesut and I didn’t say it to the groundsman not to water on the pitch, it’s not true. We are continuing our process with our positive things and our work.”