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Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil to increase his contribution to the team in front of goal.

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The Germany international, who made an instant impression after he joined the Gunners from Real Madrid in August, has been criticised lately after a dip in the standard of his performances.

While the Arsenal boss was quick to defend Ozil, he admitted that he does demand an improvement in one area of the midfielder’s game – goalscoring.

“You want the guy who plays behind the striker to score some goals,” said Wenger. “I think sometimes he’s too obsessed with making the perfect pass when he could take a shot.

“By convincing him and showing him particular situations where he can do it, [we can help]. For me he’s an exceptional football player and I think he will do it.

“The problem is at the moment you cannot work on it much because we play every few days, at the end of the season they go to the World Cup and when they come back they have one week before they play again.”

Ozil opened his Arsenal account in his fifth game for the club, their 2-0 win over Napoli in the Champions League, and has netted a total of five in 29 appearances to date.

But the 25-year-old has recently displayed a worrying tendency to drift out of games and his languid style on the pitch attracted a certain amount of ire from supporters when the Gunners were thrashed 5-1 at Liverpool last weekend.

“He needs understanding because he always wants to do well. He’s not a guy who doesn’t care,” Wenger insisted. “His style can sometimes look like that, but he’s the opposite in character.

“He cares about the game, he wants to do well and he needs more support. He feels the pressure, of course, because he knows a lot is expected from a big transfer like that.

“There is a big expectation level, but he shouldn’t worry about it. He didn’t come from a small club – he came from Real Madrid, where the pressure is always huge, so he’s used to it.”

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