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Mikel Arteta says he was pleased to hear Mesut Ozil had been supporting Arsenal from afar during their 2-1 win over Rapid Vienna on Thursday.
The 32-year-old has not played for Arsenal since football returned from coronavirus lockdown but has been at the centre of attention regardless, with speculation around his future rife.
Ozil criticised Arsenal after being left out of Arteta’s squads, noting that “loyalty is hard to come by” in football in a public message.
Before kick-off against Vienna, though, he wrote on Twitter that he would be supporting his team-mates from afar, predicting a 4-1 Gunners win. Ozil continued tweeting throughout the game, and celebrated their victory with a Man of the Match poll.
Arteta was made aware of the tweets after the game and commented: “It’s great. It’s what I want from all the players that are in our squad, I wouldn’t expect anything different - so it’s good to hear.”
The Spaniard was also asked whether he was frustrated at the amount of media coverage surrounding a player who hasn’t been on the pitch.
“No, it’s part of the situation we have and we have big players in this position it’s normal that people want to know, that fans want to have information and you guys want to ask the questions,” he replied.
“So I take it in a natural way and try to respond with honesty and clarity and give the information that is available from the inside.”
Arsenal went behind in Vienna after a disastrous error from Bernd Leno, the goalkeeper giving away possession inside his own area to gift a goal to Taxiarchis Fountas.
Arteta admitted that individual errors are to be expected as he implements his tactical vision at the club.
He added: “They will understand better and better the type of balls we have to play in those areas and to who, in relation to where the pressure is coming from and the type of distances that you can manage from the opponent.
“After that, everything will be better. In a split second you have to make a decision, you have to make the right touch and the right pass. The opponents as well are intuitive and they are waiting for that.