Mesut Ozil was “surprised” to see Mikel Arteta take over at Arsenal, but praised the head coach for restoring the club’s values.
Arteta was appointed in December last year and has overseen two wins in his four games in charge ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
Ozil admitted he was surprised by the arrival of his former team-mate, who landed his first senior job after a spell as Manchester City assistant coach.
“I was a bit surprised but on the other hand, time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon,” the playmaker said.
“I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.
“We have a normal relationship. We were team-mates. We respected each other a lot and he was already a team captain at the time so in general players respected him and now he has just continued building up on that.
“As a playmaker, I need a lot of space. His playing style allows me to get that space and it is so important to be successful.”
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Arsenal are trying to climb the Premier League table, sitting 10th and nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Ozil praised Arteta for trying to bring back Arsenal’s old approach and said it had created a happier squad, who are coming off wins over Manchester United and Leeds United.
“It is basically getting us back to the old Arsenal virtues. Having the possession, being in control of the game, having the ball all the time,” Ozil said.
“These are the things that he is working on with us and you can see it – everyone is smiling, laughing, enjoying their time at the moment and this has made us be successful now.
“We are really enjoying everything at the moment. You can see we have a structure on the pitch now. Everyone knows what their job is on the pitch and we are very happy to have won these two games.”