Mikel Arteta has denied that any single incident prompted Mesut Ozil's axing back in March – insisting it was the Arsenal midfielder's 'daily input' that saw him frozen out.
Arteta was quizzed about the midfielder as he faced the media ahead of his side's Europa League opener against Rapid Vienna on Thursday.
Ozil had released a statement on social media on Wednesday blasting Arsenal after he was left out of the manager's squads for both the Premier League and Europa League.
The snub means the former Germany international will not be eligible to play for Arsenal until January at the earliest.
Ozil has not featured at all for the Gunners since March, having initially played under Arteta after the manager took charge last December.
Arteta was asked on Wednesday whether something specific had happened to make him drop Ozil back in March – and the manager denied this was the case.
"No, I'm not very focused about what happened in the past," said Arteta in quotes reported by football.london.
"You'll remember the atmosphere around him when I joined was pretty difficult.
"I asked our fans to support him and create a much better atmosphere and you remember and recall you could see the difference at the Emirates Stadium in two or three weeks.
Mikel Arteta reacts to Mesut Ozil Arsenal snub statement and justifies call
"That was a way to support a player but look for the interests of the football club."
Arteta then hinted that Ozil's daily contribution in training had led to him being frozen out of the team.
"But then I have to see daily basically the input, the performance and what every player brings to the team," said the manager.
"From there I make the decision because I am the manager. I have to pick the right players to win football matches."
Ozil is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates and looks set to see out the deal before moving on for free next summer.
After learning he had not been included in Arsenal's Premier League squad for the season ahead, the 32-year-old said in a statement: "Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated.
"As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays."
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