“I’m staying out of it” – Ljungberg won’t be drawn on head coach rumours

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Freddie Ljungberg has made clear that his sole focus is getting Arsenal playing good football again and that speculation about the identity of the club’s next head coach is of no interest to him.

The Swede has held the position on an interim basis since Unai Emery was sacked 13 days ago and remains in the running to take the job on an ongoing basis.

The Gunners are known to have contacted a host of potential candidates with Carlo Ancelotti – sacked last night by Napoli – the latest to be linked. Fellow ex-Gunners Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta are also in the running.

Ahead of Thursday’s clash with Standard Liege, was quizzed on the suitability of Ancelotti.

“I’ve been asked this question a lot since I took over and I just try to concentrate on my job – that is to win football games and get us to play better football,” he told his press conference. 

“What the club decides to do or who they choose it is totally up to them but I stay totally out of it.”

Ljungberg also said he’s had no contact with the club hierarchy about the situation.

“It’s not a conversation I’ve had with the bosses. My job is to go from day to day, game to game, to try to help this fantastic club. That’s what I try to do. All of those decisions are up to the top dogs.”

After returning to the club following a spell in Germany with Wolfsburg, Ljungberg took over the club’s under-23s for a year before making the step up to Emery’s first team set-up.

Inside the space of four months, he’s become head coach. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, but he appears to have the club’s backing, especially having worked with some many of the youngsters before.

“When they asked me to do that job [first team coach] in the summer, it was an honour,” said Ljungberg. “I’d worked hard and tried to do my best.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the work you do. How we developed young players. I do things, I try to look at each individual player, see his strengths and weaknesses.

“Every coach does the same thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

“If I can add one thing, I try to see what players can do and not focus on what they cannot do.”

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Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

His answers are refreshing. Let’s hope he earns a permanent position through results.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

It’s so good to watch press conferences and not get bored to death again. He’s really a charismatic figure.

Francesc
Francesc

As far as press conferences go, great to have moronho back in the PL!

Anthony
Anthony

100% this.

If Freddie does well, its good for the club, good for the players, good for the fans and ultimately its good for him.

I love the way he answers honestly without being drawn into speculation – he’s been asked to step into a role under difficult circumstances and is doing so with class and decency.

I hope they take their time and appoint the right person to move us forward. If that is Freddie, then fantastic, it means we’re on an upward path.

The fact he is a former player, invincible and clearly loves the club makes us root for him all the more.

Tribe
Tribe

Something inside tells me that Freddie is worth to be given a shot. Even permanent. In today’s way of life I think that having someone that loves the club and has an hones affiliation with it is something that money doesn’t buy. Maybe I am wrong but i have some sort of blind faith in Ljungberg. Somehow he comes as a “natural” solution to be where he is now. We must never forget about values.

Matt P
Matt P

Agree with everything you said. Provided results pick up over the next 2 months, I think we should stick with Freddie.

Anthony
Anthony

Agree with all of this.

Maybe if we all “will it” enough it will happen.

Oregoon

With Ancelotti now free, one has to wonder if our top dogs will give him more than just a sniff. Ancelotti definitely has the experience to set us up properly. That tenure at Napoli seems to have been tainted by his relationship with the owner, but a long term manager for us? Doesn’t seem to stay in one place very long since leaving AC Milan years ago.

Vonnie
Vonnie

I don’t understand how a new manager at the moment would make things better. Anyone coming in now will have no proper knowledge of the players, and no time to settle because of the schedule. Freddie is doing a fantastic job, it would be fair to him and probably better for the team if he stayed in place until the end of the season, and make a decision then. Sometimes the solution to a problem is right in front of you and you can’t see it, give Freddie the chance, he’s as good as anything out there as far as I’m concerned.

Anthony
Anthony

I agree with this completely. I think it would be unfair for anyone to claim that Freddie is ‘out of his depth’ he’s been very candid in his approach – its new to him, he’s learning, but he has ideas and can see the issues he needs to fix, one issue at a time.

We’re already seeing improvement, prior to the last three games, the was the last time we saw the team walk off with smiles on their faces and actually look like they enjoy their jobs.

Martin
Martin

He is totally out of his depth. Don’t be fooled by a fine half hour against a poor W Ham team.

Vonnie
Vonnie

Can you really see no improvement game by game? Try looking for positives and you might be surprised.

Oregoon

Need to play well against Man City. That will give us a bit more idea of our development, even if we don’t get a positive result.

Atom
Atom

Part of it really is down to the type of manager we want to go for. We have a talented squad who haven’t been living up to expectations. It’s been refreshing to have something other than the mess under Emery but a lot of the old failings remain. Even huge stretches of our win against West Ham were extremely poor to the point a decent team would have easily finished us off. If the board goes for someone like Ancelotti then it’s reasonable to expect a pretty marked improvement. Remember Chelsea under Gus Hiddink or Benitez a few years ago.

If we decide to take a big risk via Vieira or Arteta then quite frankly it’s going to be a bit of a crapshoot and a run at the top 4 is unlikely. Freddie really should only stay if the board thinks he’s a valid candidate as otherwise this is a good season to get someone in and working with the squad given expectations are already pretty low

Oregoon

Yes. Very ambivalent about the situation. Ideally it would be advantageous to bring (or leave someone) in place with ties to the club, and who can recreate an attacking style. Also, would really like to see us have a long term relationship with any manager we name for stability reason. So even though short term,( 2 years) Ancelotti and Benitez make sense from an experience and risk viewpoint, they do not look like long term leaders.

Martin
Martin

2 disastrous matches and yes a good half hour against W Ham but please how can you say he is doing a fantastic job. We need a new coach in very quickly and Ancelotti would be the ideal choice with his great experience.

Vonnie
Vonnie

So Ancelotti or some other “name” is going to come in and instantly transform players they know nothing about into peak Bayern overnight? Get real, this isn’t Football Manager.

Atom
Atom

Nobody said they’re going to be peak Bayern but there are a lot of examples of experienced managers stepping in and improving underperforming teams. Just look at spuds right now. Ancelotti is an extremely experienced manager.

TeeCee
TeeCee

Yes, let’s look at Sp*rs. Looked OK until that massive banana skin moment at Old Trafford.

No change there then.

Bryan Clayden
Bryan Clayden

Vonnie the question he is asking is how can you say he’s doing fantastic???

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Ancelotti only succeeds if his players are mentally strong and have self discipline. We are exactly the contrary of that.

Atom
Atom

I’m not saying we have to get Ancelotti but rather Vinnie is wrong in saying no one can step in and improve this team so we might as well stick with Freddie. There are countless examples of experienced managers doing exactly that. I named 2 at Chelsea alone who took over flailing teams and won silverware. That’s the whole point of bringing in an experienced manager.

jon

Changing coach is rarely the key to nirvana. Coaches don’t play football. While an old hand like Ancelotti might be what we need to steady the ship, Freddie is also very sympathetic and probably a good inspirator too. I mean: Özil smiled!

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

I hope we don’t undervalue Freddie even if we do decide to appoint because even though our results have been average, the man has behaved impeccably, showing desire, loyalty and humility. I always liked him as a player but he was overshadowed by my teenage brain that wanted wonder goals and individual prowess.

But I now think back to Inter away and Juve at home, two games when Freddie scored absolutely vital goals for us and recognise his strength of character and desire to win. He was never the most gifted footballer so a lot of his game was battling, hard work and determination.

Top, top man. I hope one day he’s our number one, even if now is a little premature.

Dom47
Dom47

If we hire Ancelotti I’m losing interest in our club as it will show we are run by people who have no courage to try and do something different. I also can only see him as a caretaker manager who has no real connection or affinity to the club. Why giving him the job then?

He would also not see us as long term as he eyes clubs that can win something.

Might as well give Freddie the role until summer.

My vote goes to Arteta only.

Anthony
Anthony

I do find Arteta intriguing, but I’d also like to think that if Freddie gets us playing with flair and confidence, that he would also be rewarded for that effort.

What would be class-less is if we follow Chelsea’s lead in what they did to Di Matteo – have him guide them to a European win only to sack him.

I’m not suggesting at this stage we are likely to win the Europa League this year – would be an amazing achievement if we do all things considered, but imagine, Freddie guiding us to a European Cup, only to be dismissed in the summer?! Nope. Surely Arsenal have much more class than that!

PeteyB
PeteyB

But DiMatteo’s post Chelsea career probably justifies their decision.
Freddie, I hope, is better than him. For now he has my 100% backing, and I’m excited (though also slightly anxious) to see how to get through the difficult fixtures on the horizon.

Martin
Martin

What affinity did Arsene Wenger have with club? It’s total nonsense to dismiss Ancelotti who has a fantastic track record and a serial winner

Danno5

Looking intently at some photographs of beautiful old Highbury. Wenger smiles to himself as he weighs up whether to articulate a small confession. “You will laugh”, he says bashfully. “Sometimes I will drive in front of the Arsenal Stadium now, just to see it again, to remember how great it was, how special it was.”
….excerpt from ‘The Wenger Revolution’ by Amy Lawrence and Stuart MacFarlane.
Perhaps you should read it if you think Arsene had no affinity to the club?

Gabie

What is so special about Arteta .,did he ever coach any club no . The only coach may be club can hire us Max Allegri or else I rather have Freddie players do like him and understand his tactics

GraeB
GraeB

Fed up with everyone in or out of job being linked to our manager job and arguments that follow. Perhaps we can all get together and make sure this one doesn’t happen:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KeJ3Ys41MH8wXnRc7

Jelvis
Jelvis

Who knows! He would look after the fans and not the corporate side!

Santori
Santori

Exactly right. He’s just doing his job. NO one should have too high an expectation on Freddy, he’s trying his best.

I think he’s just trying to improve on morale at the moment which has been really low.

And he’s feeling his way around, not exactly doing all things right but he’s been thrown into the deep end.

Meanwhile the press as usual want to manufacture crisis and dissent at the club(which is an easy target bc of our gullible fans)

Its a tricky period bc you get rid of a manager but then what comes after?

Fans may think this or that manager may be suitable but do they really want to come to us? We are not particularly a good environment let alone a risk to their own reputation with many big issues to deal with.

We live in the real world. The board is scrapping the barrel for a potential solution should Freddy not be able to keep things on even keel.

Remember this Dec we have City, Chelsea and United not to mention the europa is up in the air at the moment and we may well be knocked out if we are too complacent.

Knee jerk appoint the wrong manager and we will be possibly facing an issue 3 to 6 months down similar with even more repercussions to next summer (Since we will have further limited budget (with Sanlehi backloading on Pepe and Saliba) plus should we not make europa even and be languishing, I doubt the Kroenke’s have the further resolve to spend to right things either.

Thierry Oro
Thierry Oro

I don’t know if Freddie will succed as a coach or not, but I like his talking. He’s very realistic and you can see he knows football, he knows what to be a coach is about. He’s like viera ay OGC NICE. His calmness and analysis are very impressive.

Cultured determination
Cultured determination

We’re in december, and we need to string together a winning streak now. Freddie, it’s time for you to grow some hair and dye it red. Or get pepe to do it.

Flavoured Rice

I think the option to grow hair – like Arsenal’s capacity to challenge for titles, has long since passed.

baluku
baluku

You got to love Freddie’s work. With almost no backroom staff. Just him and Per plus a few lads helping out. He’s really doing his best. He might have gotten a few things wrong with selection in the first two games. But he’s showing that he’s capable of lifting players morale, getting them to work as they should.

santi's thigh grab
santi's thigh grab

I didn’t mind his selections in the first two games after he explained them, pick the experience players as they have been here before and can get us out of the slide. He challenged the senior players and they didn’t or couldn’t respond, so he injected some youth, moved people to their natural positions where they are more confident and let them run. He doesn’t over complicate things. I want a former player to be coach, they will need the support as this is a long rebuilding project. Arteta, Viera or Freddie will do for me.