Real Madrid midfielder Mesut
Ozil has struggled for a starting spot after a great debut
season because the nine-times European champions have improved,
coach Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday.
The Germany international quickly won over the Real fans
after joining the club from Werder Bremen before the 2010/11
season and developed lethal on-field partnerships with forwards
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and others.
This season, however, the return to form of Kaka after a
long injury layoff has seen Ozil slip behind the Brazil
playmaker in the pecking order and he appears a shadow of the
midfielder who sparkled for Germany at the World Cup.
"It's mostly because the team have improved. We are better
than last year and it's more complicated to claim a place in the
starting line-up," Mourinho told a news conference on the eve of
Real's Champions League Group D game against Olympique Lyon.
"No one can expect to always play the full 90 minutes."
Mourinho suggested Ozil could even be facing competition
from Portugal's Fabio Coentrao.
"Last season Ozil was the only number 10 and now we have
Kaka and Fabio Coentrao, who can also play there," he added at
the Stade Gerland.
Ozil is expected to start on Wednesday, though, with Kaka
missing out through injury as Real look to reach the knockout
stages by beating Lyon, who they thrashed 4-0 two weeks ago.
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