“I’ve learned a lot about myself” – Ljungberg on his spell in charge

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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.”

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Andre

We love you Freddy der der der we love you Freddy don’t know how song goes lol

Paul Roberts

“we love you Freddie – cos you’ve got red hair, we love you Freddie – cos you’re everywhere, we love you Freddie – trust in us when we say…”

Thank me later…:-)

Possession

Nah mate. Last line was : cos you’re Arsenal through and through.
And he was….and still is.

BenY

He’s a good lad, Freddie.

I hope he stays as Artetas number two.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Laca on the bench is what I really did not like about Freddie’s three weeks. Hope he doesn’t push for that idea if kept as No 2.

Owen Wilson

Says more about laca than Freddie i suspect

SMH

It’s either Aubameyang plays or Lazcazette plays. Isn’t it obvious that we can’t play both of them in most games, be it in tactical sense or in depth.

And most will go with Aubameyang, like Wenger, Emery and now Ljunberg.

Mintoes

Short memory- we played both many times last season to great effect.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Arteta coming from City and having worked with Pep will play Laca. We have to give it to Emery to have played both together in lot of games when we were winning last year. Auba is fast and gets to the end of passes, Laca has close controls, dribbles, creates chances and also shot accuracy. Plus, he was prolific when playing for Lyon. Don’t understand how fans can forget all he did for the team just last year. Teams like Atletico will try to get him if his situation at Arsenal does not improve. I love Smith-Rowe and Nelson but… Read more »

SharpasFc

Freddie won’t be no. 2…Arteta already has brought in Steve Round, but I would like to see Freddie stay involved with the youngsters even if it was a younger age group than the 23s.

Bould's Eyeliner

He should be an offensive coach for the first team–hands down would make that appointment. Arteta knows what he wants, I’m sure, but who’s going to find a backroom on a first managerial appointment, and then overlook someone who’s been there and has already reshaped a more efficient and safe team from the disaster? Not to mention, it’s clear that his faith in his youngsters, and their on par performances, are a reflection of his pride and efficacy as a coach.

As for assistant manager, I’m thinking about changing my username…

Victor Lim

Keep him as number two. We may need him to stand in 18 months later.

Longfellow

Top guy. Humble and conscientious, knows the values and has reinstated them to a degree in his short time as boss. Hope he stays for a long time

Gunnerer

Really rare for someone to even be able to use the word conscientious. Freddie deserves the word

Twatsloch

This must have been a baptism of fire for him. Wherever he goes or if he stays on it must have been a steep but beneficial learning experience for him.

The Kolkata Gooner

I love my Ljungberg.

Reality check

Not ready to take on the Arsenal job, not this team anyway. Maybe once we have a successful team then he can come back and enjoy some success. He’s too inhibited a character to inspire any passion or enthusiasm in players, Dunc Ferguson produced better results with a worse team by doing just that.

joey deacon

Good old Dunc produced a great result against Freddy did he not?

Reality check

Can’t say the job was any different, both teams extremely low on confidence. Dunc played Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal and didn’t lose a game.. Freddie had a better team but couldn’t even fire them up to put in more effort than they did with Emery. If Wenger can get booed then no one will care who Freddie is.. you’ll be booing him before March..

Rocastle7

Are you serious. Freddie rallied the troops and reinstated sime Arsenal values. I thought he did great job in the face of adverisity! He may not have won us many games, but considering he had no coaching staff to work with, think he can hold his head high. I hope he stays, but if he doesnt his next job will be a waln in the park after this….

We Love you Freddie!!!!

Tungor_Adams

Freddie has stayed close to his & our clubs core values, not accepting anything less, this is the right way forward, building the team with players that have the right hunger, ambition and respect to the arsenal. It takes this short transition period in the right direction; results could have been better, but most important was culture & mentality. Now fans need to get behind this as well, Park expectations on short term glory. There is a great deal of confidence that artefa has to restore in the squad, let’s get behind the man, with patience when it doesn’t tick… Read more »

SuperTom7

Legend! Honest and straight forward guy. I would be so disappointed if he doesn’t stay. Hopeful that it works out for him and Mikel.

Dan

If I were Arteta I would do my utmost best to keep Freddie. He clearly loves the club and can be a link between the first team and the youngsters. I really don’t think Arteta would have to look hard to find the positives he would bring into the first team

Mizog

Love arsenal like I do and I’ll be happy!! Freddie does that

Muneeb

Thanks Freddie! You definitely put some smiles back on our faces!

Martin

Really? I didn’t find anything to smile about with his 4 games in charge

TeeCee

Read the Arsenal Gent’s column and pay close attention to the bit about concrete.

Nikoniko

Ever tried looking in the mirror to the sadist stare back @you?

Mpls

There was a visible improvement in positivity and effort in (most of) the players and playing style.

That, and despite still having to shuffle CB’s to find a pair (which clearly illustrates a problem in that position) there was a little improvement in stability in deep mid and CB. Torreira being employed properly and a focus on responsible positioning sure seemed to help to me.

Henrik

It wouldnt matter if he was the manager and we finished mid table for 10 years more. He still is a legend for me and one who stepped up when we needed him the most back in the day when football was till a lot of fun. Anyone remember the curler vs chelsea? Nowdays this leauge is a playground and we will never ever have a chance of winning it. Just look at the other squads. Anyone from Man citys bench would be a top signing for us at this point.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Freddie said :
“I know Arteta is a great coach”
Can we change that to Arteta will be a great coach?

joey deacon

So he wasn’t a great coach at Man City?

Venga Bus

There’s a load of comments here today about Freddie wanting to steal the limelight for as long as possible.
All I saw was an ex player taking the reigns for three weeks while the club sorted a new manager.
I’m not sure I understand where these comments are coming from.

Richard Wright

#AFTVOUT

Santori

Clearly in need of more experience. As I mentioned one thing to come up with tactics/selections or worse…provide cheap punditry that sounds intelligent from sidelines ala Neville, Henry, and another thing altogether to manage practically. Man management comes to fore and its something many arm chair generals are incapable of taking into account. This is where I hope Arteta is gifted. BC The likes of Wenger, the very experienced Unai and Freddy have tried and failed offering too much carrot IMO not enough stick. Hopefully Arteta means it when he says ruthless. As for Freddy, it will benefit him greatly… Read more »

NMArsenal

Best of luck on your future where ever it may lie.

One of the best thing about his time was he has mostly consistent on a playing style. The formation was pretty much 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Played Torreira as a CDM in almost every match. Tried to maintain running fullback even when all the first choice fullbacks are injured. Gave Ozil the 10 and put wingers in their spot. He just started to get some balance. If he had time for practice before thrown in Lions den he could have done better.

Lula

Cemented his status even further as one of the most cherished and loved custodians of our club. Well done Freddie. Hope you stay.

Right across Sunderland!

Per looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks. He probably hasn’t had time. Give them both a few days off. They deserve (and need) it.

Right across Sunderland!

Freddie and Per are crucial because for the first time in ages, we’re seeing a good crop of young players coming through. Having a good crop of young players can make all the difference.

Look at Arsenal from their crop from the mid/late 80s (Adams, Rocastle, Merson, Thomas etc). Or United’s class of 92.

If we want to win titles then spending what we have well and bringing going through younger players will make it possible to compete with the likes of Oil City FC etc.

Freddie and Per can help us achieve this imo.

Oozil

Am I the only one who feels at times the quality of passing was getting back to where it should be when we played Everton? Freddie has done a great job. It’s tough to change things deeply engrained in the players. Slow passes and backward/safe passes made our attack very weak. Everyone talks about the defence being bad but it’s the midfield that is quite poor in my opinion. They seem to be a few steps behind at all times. Most of our goals conceded are because the midfield lacks positional sense. Freddie has improved it to some extent. Yday… Read more »

Teez

Love Freddie. What a classy guy, didn’t hold any punches and stuck to his guns when he could have taken the easy road,but I doubt he would be Arteta’s assistant. Why would he want to play second fiddle to a guy who as zero experience being a coach. If he does stay on as part of Arteta’s coaching staff then we should build a statue for him.

Tony Hall

You can hold your head high Freddy, you were chucked in the deep end and handled it admirably!

Artetatikitaka

Three different coaches have made similar decisions on our players. That has to say something about the state of our squad. Torreira and Laca getting less starts, issues with Ozil, Xhaka starting every game even if he makes mistakes, Mustafi being phased out, etc. I hope we get a better sense of the levels of these players in the coming months.