Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is being made a scapegoat for the club's bad results, his agent has said.
Ozil was at the centre of criticism as Arsenal's Champions League hopes were left in tatters following a humiliating 5-1 loss at Bayern Munich in the first leg of Wednesday's last-16 tie.
Under scrutiny heading into the fixture in Bavaria, Ozil struggled at the Allianz Arena, where Arsenal were undone by four second-half goals after Alexis Sanchez had initially cancelled out Arjen Robben's opener.
But Dr Erkut Sogut leapt to the defence of the Germany international.
"Criticism is normal if a player plays badly," Sogut told BBC Sport.
"But Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results."
"In these games people usually target a player who cost a lot of money and earns a lot of money - that is Mesut. But he can't be always be the scapegoat. That's not fair.
"Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch but Mesut was singled out for criticism. Was he the reason that Arsenal conceded five goals?
"It started before the match, throughout the week leading up to the game. People started discussing: 'Should he play? Should he be dropped?'
"I don't agree that Mesut has not had an impact on big matches. What about the win at home to Chelsea this season and Manchester United the year before? What about the games for Germany against Italy and France at Euro 2016?
"People are always saying Mesut is not fighting or tackling, that he has poor body language, but that is how he is.
"Believe me, he is desperate to succeed. If it doesn't work, he shows his anger and expressions. Was his body language an issue when Arsenal were playing well?"
Ozil is out of contract in 2018 and the former Real Madrid star's future is no closer to being finalised.
"I don't think the criticism has affected his performance or his mental state," Sogut continued. "Mesut is committed to the club. There is no doubt that he will perform at 100 per cent, with total professionalism and commitment as long as he plays for Arsenal. Nothing will change that.
"He is sorry to the fans, and he's sorry that he and his team-mates couldn't give the fans a better result in Munich."
- Sports & Recreation
- Mesut Ozil
- Alexis Sanchez
- Arjen Robben