Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has defended teammate Mesut Ozil’s body language on the pitch, and said stories about a rift with Unai Emery were invented by critics.
Ozil’s performances in Arsenal’s two opening losses of the season were criticised by pundits and the German then missed the next game with a cold — sparking reports of a training ground bust-up with Emery.
But Monreal insisted there was nothing to those rumours.
“People have been a bit unfair with him,” the Spaniard said, according to the Evening Standard. “He is a very famous player and obviously people love talking about him.
“Recently, it is always bad things. Like last time, he was sick and that’s why he didn’t play. People started to invent that he had a problem with the manager.
“It wasn’t like that. He got a cold, he was sick, that’s it. That’s why he didn’t play.”
Ozil returned to start Arsenal’s next game, a 3-2 win over Cardiff last weekend ahead of the international break. His work rate was praised by Emery after that game, and Monreal said the playmaker often gets unwarranted criticism because of his body language on the pitch.
“People must understand that every player is completely different,” Monreal said. “He is like that [quiet] and 10 years ago he was the same.
“So you can’t expect on the pitch that he starts to fight, to talk with the referee because he never did it. He is not going to change in this case.
“The important thing is he plays at his highest level, gives a lot of assists, scores a lot of goals and basically helps the team. That’s what he knows. He doesn’t know how to go up to a player and grab him by the throat.”