Arsene Wenger thinks the Premier League's fighting spirit has surprised Mesut Ozil, but he's backing the Germany star to scale new heights next season.
Ozil tops Arsenal's assist charts and has played more key passes than any of his team-mates - despite suffering a dip in form in the New Year and missing the past seven games with a hamstring injury.
Ozil could return at Hull City on Sunday, and Wenger believes his absence has been felt in recent weeks.
"He said what is the most difficult for him here is that at 2-0 up, the teams fight like mad to come back"
"He has gone through a difficult spell because physically he was not as present as you would expect him," said the manager. "I can understand the judgement when… you wanted more of him but I think you are right that you see his quality when he is not there.
"He is a quick player and agile. He can get out of tight situations, so sometimes these players get you out of tight situations and open up to do something interesting behind that. When they are not there, you don't get out of the situation and you lose the ball.
"That's what I wish [is that he finishes the season strongly]. He has prepared well and it depends how quickly he will come back into the pace of the game."
It's rare for a foreign signing to find their best form in their first season in English football and Wenger expects Ozil's familiarity with his new surroundings to help him flourish next term.
"The first season is the season in which you adapt and then you know what will happen and you go into it," he said. "And I believe that he will know better his partners, he will know better the league and the potential is absolutely fantastic. He will improve with goals and assists, and his presence in the game.
"I think he has great physical potential and that will come out. He felt the difference between Spain and here… sometimes he was rested in Spain because he said in Spain, when you are 2-0 up, when Real Madrid are 2-0 up, what strikes him is that the teams give up. They know they will lose the game.
"And he said what is the most difficult for him here is that at 2-0 up, the teams fight like mad to come back. And he felt that that was the main difference, it is that you have to fight until the last second of the game."