Gunners boss says Ozil’s skill at running with the ball kept him on the field.
Arsene Wenger has explained why he didn’t substitute Mesut Ozil in the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Read more Arsenal FC news.
The Arsenal boss withdrew Santi Cazorla for back-up goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski following Wojciech Szczesny’s red card reduced the hosts to ten men.
The Spaniard, however, appeared to be performing better than record-signing Ozil, whose confidence had been visibly sapped by a penalty miss with the score still at 0-0.
Wenger said he kept the German on the field because he was one of the few players capable of carrying the ball long distances.
“The circumstances of the game were difficult,” Wenger told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match against Sunderland.
“I left him on because he’s one of the few players who go from far, from distance when you’re down to ten men. [Travel] long ways with the ball and carry the ball into the opponents’ half.
“Of course when you look back at the game the penalty obviously had an influence on his performance.”
Wenger admitted the playmaker, who made a public apology for his penalty miss yesterday, was yet to recover from the disappointment of the incident.
“Just 48 hours is a bit short to get over that [penalty miss], but it is part of this job to deal with disappointment and show that you can respond to it. He apologised after the game.
“I don’t think that people are not shocked by the fact he missed a penalty because Bayern missed one as well. He takes his penalties in an unusual way, so people are maybe a little bit less comprehensive. You have to accept it or not.
“Look, I believe that at the moment, we have to let him recover from that. I had examples before with people like Dennis Bergkamp who missed an important penalty in 1999 and refused to take any penalty again.
“Incidentally, he gets a statue tomorrow, so it doesn’t take a statue away from you. Some other people don’t mind and do it again. A penalty is part of how you feel, how much you want it.
“I wish that one day Ozil gets one outside the stadium one day as well and I will still be good enough to come and watch it [unveiling]. Ozil is a classy player and on a longer period, class tells always.”