| 16.7°C Dublin

Arteta shoulders blame for ongoing Ozil situation

Europa League Previews


Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil


Mikel Arteta believes he failed to get the best out of Mesut Ozil and therefore is willing to shoulder the blame for the playmaker being axed from Arsenal's Premier League squad.

Ozil released a statement yesterday saying he was "deeply disappointed" not to have been included in the 25-man group and believes his loyalty to the club has not been reciprocated.

The 32-year-old is the highest-paid player in Arsenal's history but has now been omitted from both the Premier League and Europa League squads.

Ozil has not played a single minute for the Gunners since March 7, having initially been a mainstay of the team following Arteta's appointment last year.

Arteta was asked about Ozil's exclusion, and subsequent statement, when addressing the media ahead of Arsenal's Europa League opener away to Rapid Vienna (BT Sport 2, KO 5.55).

The Spaniard took full responsibility for Ozil's absence as he said only football reasons were taken into account in making the decision.

"Everybody is free to express his feeling," he said. "What I can say from my side is that it is just a football decision. My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him. My level of communication with him has been really high and we know what to expect with each other.

"Obviously a player of that dimension, with the career he has had, everything that happens around him has a big impact. It has been the case for the last eight years, it is nothing new that is just happening now. A lot of things have happened over these eight years.

"My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team performance. Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho insists his side are not 'Spursy' despite their capitulation in the final 10 minutes against West Ham on Sunday.

The 3-3 draw against the Hammers certainly fits into that category as they conceded three goals in the last eight minutes. But Mourinho says failure to defend set-pieces was the main cause of the slip.

"I believe that winning 3-0 in minute 80 we could play 50 more matches and it's not going to happen again. So I don't want to be sticking on this and stories about 'Spursy', or this kind of thing," he said.

Spurs have a chance to put things right when they open their Europa League group campaign against LASK Linz (BT Sport 2, 8.00).

It is the third time Mourinho is playing in the competition and, having won it twice previously, the Portuguese is targeting a hat-trick.

He said: "It's the third time I played the competition and the other two times, one with Porto and one with United, we managed to win it."

Jonny Evans is keen to extend his Leicester stay with just eight months left on his contract.

Evans is preparing for tonight's Europa League opener with Zorya Luhansk (BT Sport ESPN, 8.00) and is open to penning fresh terms at the King Power Stadium. He said: "There's been nothing formal ... but I have really enjoyed my time here."