Ljungberg won’t just ‘smash things up’ at Arsenal

Freddie Ljungberg insists he is not going to simply “smash things up” and make radical changes after being appointed as Arsenal’s interim head coach.

The 42-year-old replaced Unai Emery on Friday with the Spaniard sacked after 18 months in charge following a run of seven games without a win.

The Gunners travel to struggling Norwich on Sunday, where Ljungberg will take charge for the first time as he plugs the gap while Arsenal’s hierarchy look for a permanent successor to Emery.

Tactics and team selection were two areas highlighted by disgruntled supporters who were calling for Emery’s exit – which was then confirmed on Friday after a 2-1 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt the night before.

But Ljungberg, who made 325 appearances for Arsenal during his career and steps up from his role of assistant coach having managed the under-23s last season, is not ready to completely overhaul the set-up left in place by Emery.

“I think we have some great players and of course we’ve had some problems,” he told the club’s official website.

“We haven’t had some results and that’s what we’ve got to try to address. But how we address that, I’ll probably keep to myself.

“Of course small things will change. I’m not going to do anything radical because I don’t think that’s the best thing to do.

“I’m not going to just go and smash things up. But I’m quite clear with what I think I want to try.

“At the same time, we have one training session until the game tomorrow so we have to be intelligent with what you try to change because it needs to stick as well.”

Ljungberg told Sky Sports News he currently has no designs on landing the job on a full-time basis, with former Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker and head of the club’s academy confirmed as part of the Swede’s backroom staff.

“No, no indication of how long or how short,” he replied when asked about his stint at the helm.

Unai Emery lost his job as Arsenal head coach on Friday.
Unai Emery lost his job as Arsenal head coach on Friday (Martin Rickett/PA)

“They just said concentrate on your next game do as well as you can,” he said.

When asked if he wants to become a manager, Ljungberg said: “We’ll see in the future.

“At the moment I’m learning the trade. This is a big responsibility and at the moment I’m just taking it game by game.

“I hope I have the values of the club, I understand the club, I think from the inside. That gives me a help, 100 per cent.

Ljungberg enjoyed a fine playing career at Arsenal.
Freddie Ljungberg enjoyed a fine playing career at Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

“I have been here for 20 years, so it’s very special to me. That’s why I’m saying it’s an honour to do this.

“When the club asked me to help them of course I said that’s a given, I will try to help them as much as they need. We will see from there.

“Of course I am confident, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken it when they asked me to help.

“If I didn’t feel I could help them I wouldn’t have done it, so of course I am confident in that way.”

However long I oversee @Arsenal for I will give everything I have to put smiles on faces again. We have a busy few weeks ahead and the team needs your support. Let’s get to work! pic.twitter.com/WdekcA4h5G

— Freddie Ljungberg (@freddie) November 29, 2019

Ljungberg tweeted a picture of himself on the training ground on Friday morning and said he wants to bring the smiles back to those at Arsenal.

“I really feel that this club can all be brought together and put some smiles on to people’s faces again,” he added.

“For me, happy footballers play the best football. That’s a part I learnt as a player, there is a time to work hard but at the same time we need to enjoy what we’re doing.

“Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.”

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