Jose Mourinho has revealed how to get the best out of unsettled Arsenal star Mesut Ozil, affirming that neither a hard line nor soft approach is likely to work on the playmaker.
Ozil has cut an unhappy figure at the Emirates Stadium in recent months, missing several key games amid rumours that he could soon be leaving.
Manager Unai Emery once more overlooked his charge on Saturday, leaving him on the bench as Arsenal overcame Chelsea 2-0 in a vital Premier League win.
Mourinho knows the former Germany international better than most, having taken him under his wing during the pair's time at Real Madrid.
And he believes that he has the answer over the mystery of how to make enigmatic Ozil tick on and off the pitch.
"Honestly, I don’t know what is going on, if he is having a physical problem or not,’ Mourinho explained on beIN Sports.
"I know that there was some problem in relation to his contract, he is leaving on a free then he is not leaving on a free. I think finally he signed a contract and decided to stay.
"So there is not an issue with contract, so I believe there is something with the physical point of view or there is some confrontation of ideas with Unai. I think the nature of football is exactly this nature.
"With me, Ozil played amazingly well but maybe not with Unai. And maybe a certain player that I don’t remember was phenomenal with Unai but doesn’t work as well with me. It’s just the nature of empathy.
"I just feel that Ozil is the kind of player that needs the both sides of it. By one side, if you are just sweet with him, you lose his natural aggression because he’s not naturally a very strong, physical player in terms of aggression.
"If you are too strong with him and forget that he also needs a bit of care, a little bit of love, you don’t find the right balance. So I think it’s about finding the right balance with him."
Another man who has been in the headlines this week is Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa, who upset Derby County counterpart Frank Lampard when it emerged that he had sent a 'spy' to observe a Rams' training session.
Mourinho worked alongside Lampard for years at Chelsea, and admitted that he was also not above using furtive methods to give his team the edge - including hiding himself in a laundry basket in order to dodge a touchline ban.
"I need to be with my players and I did it yeah," he added.
"I go to the dressing room during the day so I was there from midday and the game is seven o'clock. I just want to be in the dressing room when the players arrive. I went there and nobody saw me.
"The problem was to leave after. And the kit man put me in the basket. It was a little bit open so I could breathe.
"But when he was taking it outside the dressing room, the UEFA guys were following and desperate to find me so he closed the box and I couldn't breathe. When he opened the box I was dying."