Arsenal boss Unai Emery explains why Mesut Ozil was taken off at half-time during draw at Brighton and Hove Albion
Unai Emery has revealed he took Mesut Ozil off against Brighton for tactical reasons and not because of an injury.
The German midfielder was withdrawn at half time of the contest at the Amex with the scores finely balanced at 1-1.
The Gunners could not find the key to unlocking the stubborn Seagulls defence and were forced to settle for a point.
The visitors took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but were level again when Jurgen Locadia pounced on a defensive error to equalise.
Replays showed it was Ozil’s man and the 30-year-old was subsequently taken off at the break.
However, Emery has revealed it was purely a tactical decision to take off the attacking midfielder.
“It was tactical,” Emery told talkSPORT. “Like before, in other matches, we decided like that.
“Today is the same because we thought we need some time tactically to do more with more balance so this is the reason.”
The draw means Manchester United are now just six points off the Gunners as the race for the Champions League places intensify.
While the Premier League title is almost certainly out of Emery’s grasp this year, the Spaniard admitted he wants more from himself and his squad to get into Europe’s elite competition.
“I think we need a little more,” he added.
“From me and from the players because we need to do one step more in our performance.
“But I am happy with the players, I am happy with out work, with the commitment, with the behaviour.
“Also we need to continue in our process and our progress also every player and our work.”
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When pressed once again to confirm there were no ulterior motives for bringing off playmaker Ozil with the entirety of the second half , the former Paris Saint Germain stood firm yet again
He confirmed: “No, he [Ozil] is just like any other player.”
Source: SportsLatest TS