Mesut Özil is a player who requires “trust and confidence” in order to reach his best form, according to Jose Mourinho.
Özil, who is currently at the World Cup with Germany, experienced a difficult season first season in the Premier League after joining Arsenal from Real Madrid for a club-record £42.5 million fee.
He scored six goals and managed 11 assists in 37 appearances for the Gunners last season, but his level of performance in games against their title rivals was fiercely scrutinised by fans.
However, Mourinho insists it’s simply a case of providing the 25-year-old with the right man-management, and hinted neither the fans nor Arsene Wenger are doing enough to make his star man feel wanted.
“I learned with him because we were together for quite a long time, that he’s a very sensitive boy,” said Mourinho, who was speaking as Yahoo’s Global Ambassador.
“He needs confidence. He needs trust. He needs to feel that people is with him. When he’s on the pitch, every time he touches the ball, the ball goes beautiful.”
“And he’ll always finds the right man on the right place. So, sometimes, you don’t see him, sometimes he doesn’t go to screen many, many times. But when he goes he is a special player.”
It’s not so much Özil’s ability that was being criticised by the fans, rather it was his tendency to refuse to track back if he lost possession.
But the Portuguese coach finds it hard to understand why critics dissect Özil’s lack of defensive work.
He added: “I think it’s hard to criticise him, because Özil is Özil,”
“If you were expecting Özil to be super aggressive and to be running miles and miles from side to side and to show great enthusiasm and aggressiveness, this is not Mesut.
“If you are waiting for somebody where every time he touches the ball, the ball smiles. Every time he makes a pass, the ball goes with the right direction, the right speed, the right intensity, this is Özil.”