London: Arsenal's record signing Mesut Ozil has not got over his penalty miss in the Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, manager Arsene Wenger said before backing his side to bounce back strongly against Sunderland on Saturday.
The 42 million-pound signing from Real Madrid had the opportunity to give his side an early lead against the European champions, but his tame spot-kick was saved by Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer. German midfielder Ozil apologised for his mistake but has not full recovered from the trauma.
"Certainly not," the Frenchman told a news conference on Friday. "Forty-eight hours is a bit short to get over that. It's part of the job to deal with disappointment and show you can respond to it," Wenger added. "He apologised after the game. I don't that think people are shocked he missed a penalty, Bayern missed a penalty as well, it's just he takes his penalties in an unusual way.
"I believe that at the moment I have to let him recover from that. I have seen this before with Bergkamp, missing in 1999 (in the FA Cup semi-final replay against Manchester United) and refusing after to take any penalties." David Alaba missed a penalty for Bayern before second-half goals by Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller gave their side the advantage heading into the second leg in Munich.
Before they start thinking about the rematch Arsenal have the small matter of a Premier League title race to focus on, beginning with the visit of 18th-placed Sunderland. Arsenal sit in second spot, one point behind Chelsea and two ahead of Manchester City, and Wenger is confident they can kick on after picking up only one point from their last two league matches against Liverpool and Manchester United.
"We have an opportunity to do well in the fight and it's an extremely exciting challenge," he said. "You cannot fool the players, they know they have put the performance in and they will rebuild confidence."
Wenger said full back Kieran Gibbs, who was forced out of Wednesday's match with a hamstring injury, will miss the Sunderland game but midfielder Mikel Arteta returns from suspension. Striker Olivier Giroud is also likely to feature after remaining on the bench against Bayern.