Freddie Ljungberg used his press conference after the 0-0 draw with Everton to open up on the stresses and strains that have come with being the interim head coach at Arsenal.
The Swede has had a hectic 23 days since Unai Emery and his backroom team were sacked, overseeing five games from which he’s recorded one win, two draws and two defeats.
While it wasn’t the most successful spell on the pitch, Edu and Raul Sanllehi, on announcing Mikel Arteta as the new head coach, were quick to thank the 42-year-old for his efforts knowing full well that he and Academy Manager Per Mertesacker have had to deal with a non-stop schedule with very few staff.
“It was from one day to another – and I think we had six people leaving,” said Freddie on Saturday afternoon.
“You try to fill the gaps and do a lot of jobs yourself. I learned a lot about myself and tried to organise things, to get it done. It’s been a big honour but as well it’s been a challenge to try to sort those things out.
“I must then say that Per Mertesacker is our academy manager and he’s been our academy manager plus being my assistant.
“It’s not been easy for him because he’s been going to kids’ Christmas parties and then back to me, here and there. I must say a big, big thank you to him.”
It remains to be seen whether Freddie decides to see out the rest of the season at London Colney. He’s due to have a meeting with Arteta tomorrow during which they’ll decide the best course of action. The Swede certainly wasn’t scared to throw the cat amongst the pigeons with his team selections, regularly turning to teenagers when the higher paid stars underperformed.
Arsenal remain in mid-table and it’s going to be a tall order for Mikel Arteta to secure Europa League football, let alone a return to the Champions League. So what does Freddie think of our top six credentials?
“It’s a difficult question to answer,” he said. “For me, of course we’re a big club. We’re a bit low on confidence and it’s been a difficult time we’re going through, but we won away at West Ham and that was the first time we won away since the first day of the season at Newcastle. That changed us a little bit.
“Now here [at Everton], we kept a clean sheet and got a draw away from home. We feel a bit stable. For me, the important thing is that we’re Arsenal Football Club, we need to have possession.
“We should be keeping the ball and dominate. I know Everton were really strong from their long balls, their throw-ins and their set-pieces. That was difficult but that’s what I’ll take with us. I know Mikel is a great coach and he will make us even better.”