Full transcript of Freddie Ljungberg's first interview as Arsenal interim manager


Freddie Ljungberg has conducted his first interview as Arsenal’s interim head coach – after he took over from Unai Emery on Friday morning.

Emery was sacked as Arsenal’s chief after overseeing a run of seven matches without a win – which concluded with a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Ljungberg, who had been a member of Emery’s first-team staff, has been handed the reins while the club conducts a search for a permanent successor to Emery.

Swede Ljungberg made 325 appearances for the Gunners, netting 72 goals, during a nine year stint as a midfielder in north London.

He won the Player of the Season award in the 2001/02 season, while also picking up two Premier League titles and three FA Cup winner’s medals.

Ljungberg spoke to Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves for his first chat since his appointment – here is everything he said.

Freddie Ljungberg on Sky Sports
Freddie Ljungberg on Sky Sports

What would it mean to you to be in charge of Arsenal?

It’s a great, great honour, that’s how I feel. I feel this energy inside of me. It’s special. Of course there is sadness a little bit at what’s happened to the club, where we are. Dead excitement for what we can do in the future, tomorrow the chance we have to play. It’s a great honour and that’s what I said to the players. You guys have to do the job, I’ll try to help to support you guys, but for me it’s a great, great honour.

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What was your reaction when you were asked [to be manager]? Was you surprised at all?

I’m sorry to say, it’s not big headed I hope, but I was proud, honoured that they thought about me. Such an important thing, that they trust in me to do that and deliver that. I felt excitement because I feel that we have some very, very good football players here. It’s an amazing club. Excitement is the big thing.

Have you been given any indication, roughly, how long you are expected to be in charge for?

No indication 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 those players, we have a game tomorrow and try to do the best I can.

Do you want the job full-time?

For me it’s about the team and the club. I try to concentrate for the future. We have a game tomorrow, try to win that as hard as we can. A few other games we’ll see. For me that’s what I look at. The other stuff is at the moment totally irrelevant.

He takes charge of his first match against Norwich on Sunday
He takes charge of his first match against Norwich on Sunday

Do you want to be a manager?

We’ll see in the future, at the moment I’m learning the trade. I’m trying to do everything I can to prepare myself. Of course it’s an honour that the club thinks I’m ready to take this big responsibility. But at the moment I’m just concentrating game by game.

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You said you want to bring smiles back to the club, put smiles on peoples’ faces. How are you going to do that?

A lot of us comes from staff and of course we play good football. For example I was in Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. We got in when they was almost getting relegated and that’s when it’s a lot of pressure from a club, form a big club. People are down. So I’ve had experience of players and staff being very down and low. There is things in my opinion that you can do and that’s what we’re going to try to do. End of the day if you play good football and have results there’s nothing better than that to raise spirits.

The Swede held his first training session as boss on Friday
The Swede held his first training session as boss on Friday

What is the position on coaching staff and will you be able to assemble your own team?

Yes I’ve been asked to try to organise what I can. It’s been a quick turnaround since yesterday. I’m trying to look at Norwich, trying to sort everything out. But of course we’ll have things in place hopefully for the game tomorrow [Sunday].

What about the captaincy? Have you made a decision who will be the captain?

I’m not going to try to make enormous massive changes, I’m going to keep those things as it is. There was so much in the media, so much in discussions but that’s got to be left now. I’ve got to concentrate on how we play and what we can do on the football pitch.

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Will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain as the captain?

You’ll see that tomorrow.

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How was training yesterday and what was the mood like? What is that atmosphere like on that first day?

It’s a bit of a strange one. I think not strange but of course there is sadness. They had a coach for a long time, a very, very good coach. Other coaching staff all of a sudden disappears. It is a very cut-throat thing in football. Of course players are emotional as well, they will react. What I try to do is try and be as respectful as I could in that sequence and afterwards when I train the players I just try to again I played a little bit, I tried to do an exercise in the training session where there is a bit excitement try to make them not think too much and let them enjoy themselves and hopefully get them in a good mood, because there was a game on Thursday it was not the full squad, just a few players.





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