By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has applauded the honesty of Freddie Ljungberg after the West Ham midfielder appeared to change his mind about his former side's chances this season.

When the Swedish midfielder left for Upton Park in the summer, he suggested Arsenal's young team would struggle to recapture the title-winning glories he had enjoyed at Highbury. However when questioned ahead of Saturday's meeting at Upton Park, Ljungberg hailed the table-topping visitors as having the potential to become a dominant force in English football.

"Yes, he has changed his mind," said Wenger at Friday's press conference. "But you don't bear grudges with Freddie because I know he's an honest guy. We will always love Freddie because I have gone through difficult and many things with him. I know he's honest and I know he's not a guy who's mischievous. He changed his mind, fair play to him."

Wenger also holds no rancour over Ljungberg's departure.

"He got a three or four-year contract at the age of 30 and he had an opportunity to play," said the Frenchman. "He was always a very important player here, he was a fantastic player for Arsenal but he decided in the end to go for a new challenge. I respect that."

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Richard Clarke 28 Sep 2007