While yesterday’s 4-2 win over Sp*rs remains the focus this morning, Unai Emery’s answers to questions about the absence of Mesut Ozil were interesting to say the least.
The official line before the game was that he had a ‘back spasm’, but not for the first time this season there were suggestions there might have been more to the situation than that.
Back in August Ozil was missing from the squad for the 3-1 win over West Ham and well sourced stories of a training ground bust-up emerged. Similar stories did the rounds yesterday and in his post-game press conference Emery didn’t exactly put them to bed.
“He has a backache,” he said, when asked if one of his five captains this season could play.
When asked when the back-ache had occurred, his reply was “I don’t know”, and when asked if he had attended the game, he said, “I don’t know. It’s a good day to speak about the players who were playing.”
Which is very true, but it’s inevitable that when a player of Ozil’s profile is missing a manager will be asked about him. When his replies then raise more questions, and when the manager doesn’t even know if the player was at the stadium on North London derby day, it’s a story that necessitates coverage.
Will he be fit and available for the trip to Old Trafford? We should get more on that as the week progresses.