• Champions League

Flamini plays down Ozil bust-up

ESPN staff
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Wenger: Ozil lacking confidence

Mathieu Flamini has revealed that Mesut Ozil is one of his "closest team-mates" and has played down their heated exchange during the loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

Ozil has come in for criticism following his penalty miss against the reigning European champions at the Emirates, a match which Arsenal lost the first leg 2-0 and have a huge task on their hands to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

And Flamini was seen to be having an argument with Ozil, which led to speculation of a bust-up between the pair.

However, speaking to Arsenal Player, Flamini has played down the incident, and insists Ozil is one of his "closest team-mates" at the club.

"When you're a journalist or you're a fan seeing it from the outside, it's difficult to interpret it," Flamini said. "But Mesut is one of my closest team-mates and we were on the pitch.

"It was not about arguing it was just about communication. Mesut is a winner, I'm a winner; we were both fighting because we just wanted to give everything to the team to make sure we defended properly.

"It was about communication, but at the end of the day it proves to everyone that we really wanted to win and we're winners. It's important, as you want a team with character, not a team who doesn't react."

And Flamini also jumped to the defence of Arsenal's £42.5 million club record signing, as Ozil was also criticised for his lacklustre display in the heavy 5-1 loss to Liverpool a fortnight ago.

"He is one of the players who ran the most [in that game]. He's a very offensive player and he's not used to doing so much dirty work but he did it and I'm very proud of him because he gave everything until the last minute," Flamini said.

"Everyone is behind him and, like I said before, he's one of my closest team-mates. We do everything together here and I feel close to him. On the pitch and outside the pitch.

"Everyone is very happy to have him here because he's such a talented player and I don't understand why people are hard on him."

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