‘I like his character’: Emery keeps cool after Özil tantrum

Mesut Özil has not always been on good terms with Unai Emery. (AFP pic)

LONDON: Unai Emery refused to condemn Mesut Özil’s tantrum after the Arsenal captain threw his gloves to the ground following his substitution in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.

Özil was replaced midway through the second half with Arsenal leading 2-1, but the German midfielder appeared unhappy with Emery’s decision.

He stomped past the Arsenal coach and hurled his gloves to the turf in disgust before taking a seat on the bench.

With Özil off the pitch, Palace went on to snatch a late equaliser to end Arsenal’s 11-match winning run in all competitions.

Özil’s outburst is the latest flare-up between him and Emery.

The Spaniard reportedly angered Özil earlier this season when he told him to work harder during matches.

Despite that alleged fall-out, Emery had made Özil his captain in the absence of injured previous skipper Petr Čech.

Whether Özil retains the armband now remains to be seen, but Emery opted for a restrained response when asked about the touchline incident.

“It is normal not to be happy. I like the players like him who show the character when we are not playing well, and when I substituted him at 2-1 usually every player wants to continue playing,” Emery said.

Emery was more critical of Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette, who carelessly lost possession in the build-up to Palace’s 83rd minute equaliser.

“For the second goal, Laca was maybe not thinking as much, and I was pushing him to think more,” he said.

“The second goal was an action where we had the ball in the opposition box and we did one bad pass.”

“With this pass, we lost the ball and then they scored from the transition. For me, there are things that happen on the pitch when we continue in our process to learn.”

“We can make mistakes on the pitch. Every day I am making mistakes in my decisions. Mistakes are to learn from.”