Freddie Ljungberg has called on the Arsenal hierarchy to make a quick decision regarding the vacant head coach position because he feels the club are not currently operating on a level playing field with their rivals.
Unai Emery’s sacking was accompanied by the dismissal of the Spaniard’s five-strong coaching team and the Gunners have opted, so far, not to make any new appointments while they decide who is the best person to take over on a full-time basis.
While Per Mertesacker and Ryan Garry have been drafted in from the Academy to be Ljungberg’s assistants and keeper coach Sal Bibbo has taken a more active role, the Swede has made clear that there’s only so long they keep all the plates spinning.
“I’ve said to them [the board] they need to make a decision,” Ljungberg told Sky Sports after the 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City.
“We are here to help and the staff are trying to chip in but a decision has to be made so we can have the same resources as other clubs. When I say that they that say I have to wait and see.”
The Gunners were outclassed on another dispiriting afternoon at the Emirates with fans voicing their frustration at the break before defiantly cheering them on in the closing moments. Kevin de Bruyne set the tone with an opener inside three minutes and the Belgian added a second after Raheem Sterling had doubled the champions’ advantage.
“We know playing against City we have struggled a lot recently,” reflected Ljungberg. “We tried to keep the ball and be the Arsenal we want to be.
“The problem was the transitions, they scored on the counter, De Bruyne is a fantastic player but when they start like that it’s very difficult to get going again and I felt we got low and they got confident.
He added: “I said to the players at half-time it was about pride, ‘you need to show some heart out there and show that you’re proud.’
“For me I think the last week has been good, we played really good against West Ham, qualified top in Europe. We know from history we struggle against City, they and Liverpool are a little in a league of their own. Against Everton we need to have our chests high.”
“I was proud of our boys,” he said. “When you look at the age of the side that finished it was not an old side.
“I felt we kept the ball OK and played well. But we couldn’t get that final spark and when you are 2-0 and 3-0 down early it takes the edge off.
“The players showed spirit but it is hard to play at 3-0 down.
“If you look you see the players and price tags they put in from the bench, we have young kids who we put on. There is a gulf but I am still proud of the boys.”