Unai Emery has repeated his demand for Mesut Ozil to contribute more for Arsenal after a flat start to the campaign for the playmaker.
Emery has denied a rift with the midfielder, who retired from international duty following Germany’s poor World Cup defence citing “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots.
Ozil missed Arsenal’s 3-1 Premier League win over London rivals West Ham last month through illness but returned to the team for a 3-2 defeat of Cardiff City.
And with speculation over the state of Emery’s relationship with Ozil continuing, the Spaniard has again called for the 29-year-old to step up his performance levels.
Emery, though, is ready to treat Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United, Arsenal’s first game after the international break, as a clean slate for players including Ozil.
“For me it is a new moment, for us and for every player,” Emery told a news conference on Thursday.
“The reason we are working is to prepare each match with our players to have the possibility to arrive in Newcastle in the best condition for every player.
“That’s the same for Mesut. He’s working well. He is OK. I want to push them, I want to be demanding to prepare this match – Mesut the same.
“I want to find with him the possibility to do the best, to make decisive passes, to do more near and in the box to score. Also, I think he is working for the team to help us with his quality.
“But he is feeling like I am feeling. He can improve, he can do more. In this process, we will work, we will help him, give him the possibility on the pitch to be together, to find his qualities for us.”
Emery has denied reports of a training ground row with Ozil over the player’s preferred position and the former Paris Saint-Germain coach hailed the playmaker’s versatility.
“In his career Mesut played like a 10 and on the right, coming inside with his quality,” Emery added. “Here he has played both.
“He is very convinced about that in my conversations with him about it. I usually give players the position they feel the best. Mesut is in these two positions.”