Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil cannot help but laugh at critics who brand him as a lazy player.
Ozil has been heavily scrutinised over flat performances for the Gunners this season, though he offered a stunning response with a brilliant performance as captain in Monday’s 3-1 win over Leicester City.
Head coach Unai Emery last month stressed he expects more from the 30-year-old, whose on-pitch demeanour has often led to criticism.
Asked about how he reacts to being deemed lazy, Ozil told Sky Sports: “I just laugh.
“I am not the youngest anymore but I started playing professionally at the age of 16 or 17 and it’s always been up and down with me – people either like me or they don’t.
“I don’t listen to these people – I just listen to my coach and my people who say things straight to my face. So of course, if I play bad, I know that, just as I know when I play well.
“The most important thing is that the coach can help me – if I make mistakes he can tell me, we can speak and I can improve for the future.
“But if people just say bad things about me because they want to be in the newspaper – I know that and I don’t care about them.
“I always have motivation, particularly before the games – I want to win all the games and I hate to lose, even in training I am p***** and aggressive because I always want to win.
“I am a very calm person, sometimes on the pitch I get very emotional if I make mistakes or give the ball away because I want to make everything perfect.
“The coach wants me to give everything on the pitch – which is what I do but I still work hard to reach my aims.
“I have said before the main thing is to achieve more than we have over the last few years and I think we have the potential to win something with the team. Hopefully at the end of the season we will win some trophies.”
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 22, 2018
Ozil suggested reports of a rift between himself and Emery were wide of the mark and acknowledged he needs to do more to help the team improve.
“He’s younger and has brought in some Spanish specialists and wants to make everything perfect,” said Ozil, who is already one goal away from matching his haul of five in all competitions last term.
“The team understand him and he has shown us his character and how he wants to play.
“Of course, we need time to understand everything completely but it is going well – he is a very good coach and as a player you can speak to him and he listens which makes everything easier for us.
“We are fourth in the table so we know we can achieve more and I need to show on the pitch my potential to help the team but I think so far it is going well, especially with the goals.
“I have to perhaps produce some more assists but it is going well.”
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