Aitor Karanka says Mesut Ozil needs firm manager

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Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka believes Arsenal star Mesut Ozil needs a manager who will put him under pressure to get the best out of him.

In what may be construed as a slight dig to Arsene Wenger and to Ozil, Karanka said that the German international is prone to 'relax' too much if not under the guidance of a firm manager.

Speaking ahead of Middlesbrough's FA Cup match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Karanka said: "Ozil needs a manager who puts pressure on him, because he's a player who can relax. With Mourinho he always had that at Madrid."

Karanka is well placed to comment on Ozil, as he worked with the former-Real Madrid star at the Bernabeu before moving to England to manage.

Karanka was a coach to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, so had a first-hand look at how Mourinho managed the talented playmaker.

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Now at Middlesbrough, he has the Teesiders challenging for promotion to the Premier League, led in part by the goals scored by Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford.

Boro travel to Arsenal for their FA Cup match in good spirits, while Wenger admitted in his press conference this week that Arsenal have taken the FA Cup seriously to the detriment of other competitions in recent seasons.

They are the defending champions, and favourites to progress past their Championship opposition on Sunday.

Best at Arsenal?

They are not many better placed to cast judgement on Ozil than Karanka, but Ozil's stay at Arsenal so far suggests he's right.

The German international has looked a shadow of the player at Real Madrid and perhaps Wenger's hands-off approach is not the style of management he best responds to.

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