Belfast Telegraph

Kolasinac quick to defence of underfire skipper Ozil as Arsenal down Clarets

Arsenal 3 Burnley 1

Fine display: Sead Kolasinac was named man of the match
Fine display: Sead Kolasinac was named man of the match
Mesut Ozil

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Sead Kolasinac insists Mesut Ozil has the backing of everyone at Arsenal and that he and his team-mates ignore any negativity aimed at the German forward.

Ozil's performances are often in the spotlight, given he is the highest-paid player at the Emirates Stadium.

Gunners head coach Unai Emery insisted last week that he could not guarantee Ozil a starting berth in his side - only to then name the former Real Madrid man as captain for Saturday's 3-1 win over Burnley.

Ozil's future at Arsenal remains unclear as Emery refused to rule out a January exit for the 30-year-old, who provided a couple of moments of class to help down the Clarets.

While his displays may be over-analysed and his critics vocal, Kolasinac revealed no-one within the club takes any notice of Ozil's detractors.

"That's the case when you're a big star, like Mesut is," the Bosnia-Herzegovina international said when asked if Ozil gets unfair criticism.

"Of course there are always negative headlines but, as a team, we don't pay attention to them and Mesut doesn't either.

"That's what's most important. We're all behind Mesut - all the staff, all the players.

"If negative things are written, then that's just what happens. In life, not everything is positive - sometimes there are negatives written about you too, and he's had that. But with his performance (against Burnley) he's quietened a few critics."

Kolasinac was named man of the match in the win having played a part in both of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opening two goals.

The 25-year-old got on the end of a perfect Ozil (right) pass to cross for Aubameyang's opener and admitted he would not have even made a lung-bursting run into the box if any other player had been in possession at the time.

"It was unbelievable," he said of Ozil's pass. "We all know Mesut's qualities and I only actually made that run because I saw that he had the ball. Not many players would have been able to play that pass.

"He can,and, when I saw him get on the ball, I knew he was going to find me. It was a brilliant pass from him."

Ozil may have to fight for a place in Emery's team, but he has led Arsenal out as captain four times this season. While Kolasinac admits Ozil is not the sort of skipper to dole out rollickings, the former Schalke man believes he commands respect in a different way.

"Mesut's not the sort of player who will scream at you in public just to show the people on the outside that he tries to push us on," he added.

"He'll speak in the dressing room, he'll go to every player individually. With his quality, he brings a lot to this team. He's very important for us as a captain and as a player."

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