Mesut Ozil admits he’s surprised by how quickly Mikel Arteta has made an impact at Arsenal and revealed he’s feeling much more positive since the Gunners changed coach.
In a wide-ranging interview, the German also said it’s up to the players to rescue the season even though a top four finish looks very unlikely.
Sitting down with beIN SPORTS who posed questions in English, he answered in German and the video was published on a Turkish-region version of their site.
Luckily we had Lewis Ambrose on hand to translate for us…
On how his season is going…
Obviously, there are some difficult times that I’ve had, especially with the former coach, I wasn’t playing so much. But now that’s all in the past and
I’m concentrating on the future, on doing everything to help the team. I’m just thrilled to be back on the pitch, so I can do what brings me joy.
On Wenger and Arteta…
I don’t think I need to say much about Arsène Wenger. When you see a career like his, how successful he’s been, how many years he was here and everything he did, how many titles he won.
As for Arteta, as I always said in another interview, to bring so much positive impact in such a short time has left all of us surprised. Especially because of how little experience he has as a coach. You can tell that he’s hungry, that he’s learnt a lot, and that he wants to help the team and the club to play successful football again. We’re on the path there. All the players are happy, are smiling, and that’s what we need.
On the problems since Wenger left…
I think for the club it’s always hard when you’ve had a coach so long-term, who understands the club and has built the club. I’d say it’s always harder (then) for a new coach to arrive and be successful.
It was like that for the last coach – it’s a real challenge to come to a big club and be successful. It doesn’t happen automatically. Now with Mikel we have something very different, everything is positive.
It’s very important that we’re all in good spirits, with that you can deliver what the coach wants from you on the pitch and we’ve been missing that in recent months.
You can feel the positive energy, he understands the players because he was a player himself not long ago. And it’s a good thing for the club.
On finishing in the top four…
The problem is it isn’t in our hands now. We’ve dropped so many points already but I do hope with Mikel, who understands us and knows what he wants from us on the pitch, that we can get into the top four. We’ll give everything to finish there so the club can play in the Champions League again.
On adapting his position…
I’m a playmaker. In the last few years I always played centrally, now it’s a bit more to the right. But you can see I have my freedom on the pitch again. There are many clubs who play without a playmaker – with two ‘eights’ and a ‘six’, we play like that sometimes. Ultimately it’s up to the coach to play their system. My aim is to play, no matter what position, and to perform and help the team.
Thanks again to Lewis for his help, you can follow him on Twitter @LGAmbrose