Ozil: Penalty Miss will Make me Stronger - The New Indian Express

Ozil: Penalty Miss will Make me Stronger

Published: 21st February 2014 09:31 AM

Last Updated: 21st February 2014 09:33 AM

Mesut Ozil will keep putting himself forward to take penalties for Arsenal following Wednesday's miss and is drawing particular inspiration from how Bastian Schweinsteiger recovered from a similar disappointment with Bayern Munich.

Schweinsteiger, his Germany team-mate, and Arjen Robben both missed decisive penalties in the 2012 Champions League final against Chelsea but returned the following season to help Bayern win the tournament. Ozil was still distraught with himself yesterday morning after Bayern had ultimately punished his missed penalty to record a 2-0 first leg win at the Emirates.

By the afternoon, however, Ozil was telling friends of his determination to react in a similarly positive way as Schweinsteiger and Robben. He is also adamant that he will keep taking particular responsibility in this Arsenal team, whether as the main playmaker, penalty taker or dead-ball specialist.

At 25, Ozil believes that he is ready for this enhanced role but also hopes that people will understand that he is still adjusting to all the added responsibility after leaving a Real Madrid squad filled with other higher profile players. Arsene Wenger has largely built his team around Ozil and the pounds 42?million record signing was keen yesterday to directly reassure Arsenal supporters of his desire to make amends for Wednesday's performance. He accepts that he also underperformed in the 5-1 defeat by Liverpool but his recent contributions against Manchester United, Southampton and Liverpool in the FA Cup were more in line with his excellent early-season performances.

"The next morning doesn't feel better either," wrote Ozil on Facebook yesterday. "Sorry guys - it wasn't planned that way. Outnumbered it was really hard to win against this team." Wenger has spoken of how Ozil allowed his head to drop following the penalty miss and the situation was then compounded by two further incidents. Wojciech Szczesny's sending-off left Arsenal starved of possession, while the loss through injury of Kieran Gibbs encouraged Bayern to target Arsenal's left flank. With Santi Cazorla substituted, Ozil found himself largely being required to play as a second left-back. Per Mertesacker publicly rebuked Ozil after the 6-3 Premier League defeat against Manchester City for forgetting to acknowledge the travelling fans and there was also an angry on-field exchange on Wednesday between Ozil and Mathieu Flamini.

Mertesacker admitted that Ozil's team-mates had been conscious of how he was affected by the miss but is adamant that the Flamini incident was nothing more than necessary, if heated, communication.

"Against Bayern you must be ice-cold, otherwise you have no chance [with a penalty]," said Mertesacker. "This should not be a reproach to Mesut, he will be angry. We tried during the game to interact with him, so he forgets quickly but it was eating away at him. You could see that.

"Everyone is tired. It is up to everybody to encourage each other. It is not only up to Mesut. He will come back even stronger. He is a massive player and we need him at his best. It is obvious that when you miss a penalty you are disappointed but you have to get over it quickly. That is the main thing."

Mertesacker described Arsenal's second-half situation, when they faced Bayern with only 10 men, as akin to "a suicide mission" and felt that it was harsh for Szczesny to be sent off as well as concede a penalty. Of the rule, Mertesacker said: "Honestly? I think it sucks. This is a double punishment." Robben claimed he has been turned into a "cornered dog" by Arsenal after having to deny accusations of diving to win the penalty. Television cameras caught Szczesny's making a gesture as he left the pitch but it was unclear whether it was aimed at anybody and it is understood that it has not been included in referee Nicola Rizzoli's report. It means that his ban is unlikely to be extended beyond one game.

"There's no discussion about the penalty," said Robben. "Suddenly I was the fans' target and the cornered dog." Robben has also denied suggestions made on social media that he may have spat at Bacary Sagna.

"I did not spit," said Robben. "I do not have much hair on my head. Sweat dripped down."

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