(Reuters) - Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg has criticised Mesut Ozil’s unacceptable conduct after his substitution against Manchester City in the Premier League last weekend.
Germany playmaker Ozil kicked his gloves in frustration after being withdrawn in the 59th minute of Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Ljungberg, who took temporary charge of Arsenal for the final time in Saturday’s goalless draw at Everton, revealed Ozil would have been dropped from the travelling squad had he not been injured.
“The fans were not happy,” Ljungberg told reporters. “I got asked about it and said, ‘At Arsenal, that’s not how we behave and not what we do’. I stand by that.
“Mesut was injured, but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it’s not what I accept from an Arsenal football player.
“That’s my decision. I won’t make the decisions again, but that’s what I think.”
It is not the first time an Arsenal player has been involved in a controversy after being taken off at the Emirates Stadium this season.
Granit Xhaka reacted angrily to home fans booing him as he walked off the pitch during a match against Crystal Palace in October, and was subsequently stripped of the club captaincy.
Former captain Mikel Arteta took permanent charge as the new head coach of the club on Sunday, and has described Ozil as a “massive player” for Arsenal in his first news conference.
But the Spanish coach has also promised to be ruthless with Arsenal’s struggling squad, warning the players must deliver “passion and energy”.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge