Mesut Ozil insists Arsenal haven’t given up hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League and says he and his teammates have a clearer idea of tactics since Mikel Arteta took over as head coach.
The German has been a regular in the starting lineup since the Spaniard returned to the Emirates in December but has some way to go if he’s to arrest a downturn in form that followed the signing of his contract extension two years ago.
The Gunners are currently 10th in the Premier League table and 10 points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea. It seems very unlikely that we’ll return to Europe’s top table via our 13 remaining games in the league, but Ozil isn’t giving up hope.
“Our goal is to be in Champions League. This year we had difficult times, but I think we’re in a good way,” he told Dubai-based publication The National.
Ozil seemed to suggest his confidence is based on better communication from the coaching staff.
“Even the players – let’s say that after 60 or 70 minutes, if that player’s changing, everyone knows now in which position they have to play or how [the manager] wants to attack or make a lot of pressure on the opposite team. This kind of stuff.
“So, right now, everybody knows tactically that we’re improving. It’s just two months that Mikel has been here, and we have improved a lot tactically.
“Of course, now it’s hard times for us. It’s difficult to say because right now everything is not going well, but we know if everything is going well, if the confidence is back and if we take the right results, we will end in the top four, in the top five.
“We have to believe in ourselves, believe in us as a team, to do what the coach wants. We’re in a good way; you see it as well on the pitch, everyone enjoys, everyone is happy. As a player, you have to be happy to give everything on the pitch.”
Ozil will enter the final year of his contract in the summer and has been linked with a move to the MLS. Given his extensive wages it seems very unlikely that we’ll look to offer him a new deal which suggests we’ll be very open to any approaches.
For the time being, the World Cup winner remains focused on Arsenal and coy on his future.
“After this season I have one more year, so after that I will know because I can’t see the future. The thing I can do is give everything for the team, for myself, to be successful and let’s see what happens.
“What I know is that I will give everything for this club, for my teammates. We’ve had a difficult season, but we want to win games again, to take points, to maybe be in the top four at the end of the season.