Transcript: Freddie Ljungberg talks to Soccer Saturday

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Freddie Ljungberg says he’s relishing the challenge of being Arsenal’s head coach having been handed the responsibility after the club parted ways with Unai Emery.

The Swede will be the main man in the dugout on Sunday when the Gunners take on Norwich at Carrow Road and he’s set to be accompanied, in the short-term, by Academy Manager Per Mertesacker.

Ahead of the game, the 42-year-old spoke to Sky Sports Soccer Saturday and made clear his sole focus is getting the squad winning again; not his chances of taking the role on the full-time basis.



On what it means to take charge…

It’s a great, great honour. That’s how I feel. I feel this energy inside of me and it’s special. Of course, there is sadness, a little bit, obviously with what has happened with the club, but excitement too with what we can do in the future and tomorrow the chance we have to play. It is just a great honour and that is what I told the players – you guys have to do the job, I can help and support, but for me, it is a great, great honour.

On his initial reaction to being asked…

I hope it’s not big-headed to say it, but I was proud. I felt honoured that they thought of me for such an important role. That they trusted me to do it. I felt excitement because I feel that we have some very, very good football players, it’s an amazing club.

On whether he’s been told how long he’ll be in charge…

No indication of how long or how short. They just said concentrate on the next game, do as good as you can and we’ll see from there. For me, I concentrate on the players and we have a game tomorrow and try to do the best I can.

On whether he wants the job full time…

It’s about the team and the club. I’m trying to concentrate on the future. We have a game tomorrow. We try to win that as hard as we can and then a few other games, we’ll see. That’s what I’m looking at. The other stuff is, at the moment, totally irrelevant for me.

On whether he wants to be a manager…

We’ll see in the future. At the moment, I am learning the trade and trying to do everything I can to improve myself – of course it is an honour that the club thinks I am able to take on this big responsibility, but at the moment I am just concentrating on taking it game by game.

On bringing smiles back to the club…

I was in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and we went in when they were nearly getting relegated. There was a lot of pressure from a big club and people were down. I’ve had experience of players and staff being very down and low and there are things you can do and what we will do. At the end of the day, if you play good football and have results there’s nothing better than that to raise spirits.

On assembling a coaching team…

I’ve been asked to organise what I can. It’s been a quick turnaround since yesterday, especially with the Norwich game, but we’ll have things in place for the game tomorrow.

On the captain…

I’m not going to make enormous, massive changes. I’m going to keep those things as it is. There has been so much in the media, so many discussions within. that’s going to be left like that. I’m going to concentrate on how we play and what we do on the pitch.

On whether Aubameyang will be captain tomorrow…

You’ll see tomorrow.

On how his first training session went…

The atmosphere is a strange one, not strange, but of course, there’s a sadness. They had a coach for a long time, a very good coach and other coaching staff that have suddenly disappeared. It is a very cutthroat thing in football and of course, players are emotional and react to that. What I tried to do, was be as respectful as I could of that sequence. Then after, I trained the players. I played a little bit, so I tried to do an exercise and training session with a bit of excitement, so they could enjoy themselves. Hopefully, we’ve got them in a good mood. We had a game on Thursday, so it wasn’t the whole squad, just a few players.

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Pooner
Pooner

Freddie’s here to make The Arsenal sexy again.

Longfellow
Longfellow

Exited about this!

wengerloski
wengerloski

Up the Arse

Zadok
Zadok

To the clouds of Aristophanes!

HappyHenry
HappyHenry

So nice to get coherent and understandable answers for the 1st time in a while.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Freddie and Per will bring back some flair! 🎶

Kbs
Kbs

Norwich 0:5 Arsenal

Me2
Me2

Ljungberg cannot polish a turd.
Don’t get too excited…

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Dude…why so negative?

Me2
Me2

Not negative just realistic
Arsenal’s squad is full of crap – Sokratis, Mustafi, Xhaka, Holding, Kolasinac, Chambers, Ozil, Pepe, Luiz, Ceballos etc.
There is no competitive culture at Arsenal.
Was Emery fired because of poor results or poor attendances?
Ljungberg may make an impact but the problems will remain.
Rogers would be the best bet to take over as he seems to be able to motivate his players well enough but why would he leave Leicester for Arsenal?
Why would any top manager want to manage such a toxic club as Arsenal?
A fan base waiting with daggers out waiting for poor results.
A recruitment process that is, as Gary Neville states “absolutely pathetic”.
A board seemingly with more interest in bottom line financial figures than winning trophies.
And a group of players who, from the last few years seemingly could give a shit.

Steven Morrow’s Arm Cast
Steven Morrow’s Arm Cast

Chambers and Ceballos are trash? You are clearly having a laugh.

Me2
Me2

Yes they are.
Would they be first choice in the City, Liverpool, Chelsea or Leicester squads?
Of course not.
Yet according to you they are good enough for Arsenal
That’s why Arsenal are level with Burnley with a negative goal difference.
The table does not lie.
Perhaps Ljungberg may spark something in them I don’t know – I hope so I just don’t expect it.
I’m just realistic unlike most of you.
Its more of a laugh to me that you all expect so much.
That was probably part of the problem to begin with – managing expectations..

Inspector norse
Inspector norse

Leicester ? really they should tell you something about what can happen with proper management despite not having the greatest players. Our player base is clearly better than Leicester’s. Can you not see that ?

A.S.17
A.S.17

There’s not one set of club fans as patient as you intimate. Liverpool fans turned on Rodgers after Suarez left with no replacement. Not to mention Man United’s recently, Chelsea’s not so long ago, or Barca’s right now. But in your fabled wisdom, we’re toxic and every other fan base is perfect! We’re the reason Emery missed out on the top 4 last season, got beat in the Europa final! 😳😳🤣

Two, Matip can play for Liverpool but Chambers cannot? Really? Or Zuma et al for Chelsea? What are you smoking over there mate? Do not forget average players look brilliant in an high achieving team. Same is true for the above average players in underperforming teams!

Fans react to what they’re seeing on the pitch! If it’s please, we sing. If it’s, over an unexpectable period of time – the opposite become a reality.

Mtz
Mtz

‘Perhaps Ljungberg may spark something in them, I don’t know, I hope so, I just don’t expect it’..
Man? Realistic?😂😂

Inspector norse
Inspector norse

Thats clearly negative, and not even close to realistic. We dont have the greatest defenders of all time i agree on that, but football is a team sport, when the team dont work the individual players dont work. Look at liverpool their midfield is not exactly world beaters individually, but working together they are one of the best midfields in world right now. Thats down to organisation a clear tactic and formation. We could have that, a philosophy that permeates the club. What we had with UE was chaos no direction no tactic no formation insanity and goob ebening’s.

Me2
Me2

There was chaos before Emery took the position.
That is what forced the board to get off their fat arses and replace Arsene Wenger.
The problems were firmly rooted during Wenger’s reign and amplified during Emery’s reign and people expect a man with zero management experience to turn a mediocre Arsenal squad into something half decent.
Arsenal can never be compared to Liverpool.
Its a culture at Liverpool stemming from owners who WANT to win things. Kroenke does not want to win things. Raul and Edu are there to tick a few boxes – give the fans a picture of organisation and direction.
What positive impact has Sanllehi and Edu had on this club?
Arsenal have become a joke.
They will appoint the cheapest and easiest option like they did with Emery.
Not the manager that meets the philosophy of the club (not that we have a philosophy or indentity now).
Arsenal have been in decline for ten years or more. Selling our best players. Replacing them with less talented players. Abandoning a philosphy that brought us success simply because they felt compelled to change for change sake.
I don’t buy this sacked because of poor results at all.
If that were the case Emery should have been sacked in the summer considering that he seemingly forsook the push for the premiership top four for the europa league final and lost on both occasions.
And Wenger should have been shown the door several years before he was considering we were finishing 30 points behind the champions – not very good for a team that models itself on being a top side..
I’m not being overly negative I just know when I am being fed bullshit
And this is bullshit…

Goonshow
Goonshow

Not sure why you’re even spending the energy to type a comment on here mate… you seem so utterly negative to the point of vindictiveness?
But, since you open with ‘being realistic’:
‘No competitive culture’ – would love to know which dressing room or training sessions you’ve attended, in order to ‘realistically’ make such an informed remark on the inner working of the players and CURRENT coaching staff?
‘Rogers… seems to be able to motivate’ – Freddy did wonders behind the scenes with a relegation-shadowed Wolfsburg, and the huge respect that the youngsters he’s handled have for him speaks volumes. You may be too young (or just to cynical) to remember his extraordinary charisma and ability to light up Highbury… that hasn’t changed, it’s a natural gift and has no doubt only sharpened with maturity.
‘A toxic club’ – over a century of firsts and records that no other club in Britain can match and you choose to wallow in the past 24-36 months? Arsenal is way bigger than the last season of Arsene and the 18 months of Emery, my friend – and most certainly has a lot more depth to it than your level of support, it would seem!
lastly – and perhaps all we need to know in order to ‘judge’ your perspective – the fact that you reference Gary Neville as a source of authority… omg – that says it all, really.

ClockEndRider
ClockEndRider

Gary Neville was clearly told to try to create some controversy ahead of a Sky televised game. His comments are frankly ridiculous and should be treated as such.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

Gary Neville, you don’t get paid for this kind of overtime.

Trump
Trump

Are you a Russian bot?

Goonsquad
Goonsquad

Freddy can definitely bring improvements to midfield transition to attack and Per can definitely improve defensive positioning and they can both clearly explain what they want from the team. These are all things that were desperately needed, so I think we can be a bit optimistic

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Don’t get too excited. EMERY was 70% of the problem. Now we need to get rid of the extremely poor performing player with extremely poor judgment. We can blame Emery all we want, but when our players play like donkeys, and cant even make a simple 2 meter pass, then we have to fix that too. The key will be balancing defence with attack. We love to go forward and play attractive football, but when you are shit at defending, pressing, and keeping a shape, you can’t just say I like to attack. We have many weaknesses and it will take time and an experienced manager to fix this mess…

Mekus
Mekus

I like to be positive minded, optimistic and all that.. But pessimistic as it may sound, this comment by Naked Cygan is as close to the naked truth as on can be without sounding like a horrible shit of a fan. It’s gonna be a challenging/difficult job for Freddie to finely piece it all together without even a time frame. So he will massively need all our support and understanding in this avoidable difficult times.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

I can call you names too, but I got class. 😏

Me2
Me2

He is not being overly cynical – I have said the same things and I have been called vindictive even.
Nothing wrong with being cynical or positive if its constructive – its called an opinion…
You call it as you see it.
Arsenal have a dearth of players that simply are not good enough.
And I am sure the people who disagree with him are the same ones who come on here criticsing Xhaka or moaning about the defence…

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Me2 change your name to DaMOAN

Patty knight
Patty knight

talk is cheap, it can make anyone look good. we need to see action on the pitch

Kaleja
Kaleja

Freddy the man, can’t wait for tommorow.

Vonnie
Vonnie

I’m so excited about this, I can’t wait for tomorrow and I’ll be back at the Emirates as soon as I can get a ticket. We love you Freddie!

Mekus
Mekus

That’s the spirit. He/the team needs our support (especially now).

Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice
Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice

At least we have the best looking manager in the EPL, although Steve Bruce might have something to say about that of course.

Rich
Rich

I’ve seen Norwich a few times this season, they pass the ball well and play attacking football, they beat City by attacking them, and on the balance of play should have got something at Anfield, even though they lost 4-1.

They’ll quite rightly fancy their chances in causing us problems defensively, but we’ll certainly get chances at the other end.

This is a decent game for Freddie to kick off with, Martinelli has to be knocking on the door for a start, and we know Freddie likes both Saka + Willock.

Also think there’s a reasonable chance we’ll see Chambers + Holding starting in the centre of a back 4.

Santori
Santori

The best thing for Freddy at the moment with so little time to prep for Norwich is to demand everyone put in extra effort off ball.

Keep things more compact, find each other better and get rid of some of those risky clearances to edge of our box, stop playing complicated possession in our half or risky passes.

Also less touches to find our players higher up and lets use the pace out wide.

Thereafter there will be more time to work on nitty gritty issues.

BUT the team is very thin at the moment and needs a good boost. Good to see Per appointed in to give Freddy a hand, it must be quite daunting.

For tomorrow considering injuries, I expect we should go 4-2-3-1

……………………………………Laca……………………………………
Auba………………………………………………………………….Pepe
…………………..Ozil………………………..Guendouzi………………
……………………………….Torreira……………………………………
Tierney…………………………………………………………Chambers
………………..Holding…………………Sokratis………………………
…………………………………Leno……………………………………..

I’d give Sokratis the captaincy with Lacazette.

One organizes us during defensive phases and the other to lead when attacking.

Keep Torreira in a discipline role just in front of back 2. Have Pepe and Auba run diagonals supported by the fullbacks with Ozil and Guendouzi in close attendance infield.

Lets use the pace and forget playing out from deep, find some movement and pass to Ozil/Tierney or Pepe around the half way line.

Less passes more speed. More shots.

COYG. Lets be positive.

Sapiman
Sapiman

The advantage Freddie has over you and i is he already has the team players from the academy at his side and knowing his style.