Press conference

Freddie on Brighton, changes, defence: transcript

Freddie Ljungberg faced the media for a pre-match press conference for the first time as our interim head coach on Tuesday.

The Swede discussed how he has adapted to the role, the threat Brighton will pose, what the future holds for him... and why he didn't wear a club suit.

Watch our game against Brighton for free on Amazon Prime

Read on for a full transcript:

on what he’s taken from the Norwich game…
Of course there’s a lot of reflection after a game, I’ve watched it twice now. The general feeling is probably the same as I had after the match, we started extremely well, played very well offensively but had a problem transition-wise so they got shots on target and chances just from the transition of an eight-yard sprint, which we need to stop. So that’s something we will focus on. Other things is that my feeling that we got in behind their midfield and behind their backline a lot, has been backed up by data within the club, which we have been sky rocketed up to be one of the top teams in the league to get into the pockets and behind them. That feels very good that it has been backed up by the data and the feeling I had after the game, and of course we will try to keep on doing that. My feeling was that I wanted to win the game, very disappointed not to win it, but if we play a transition game like we did, we won’t win any games, so that’s something that I can coach and try to improve.

on being in charge at the Emirates for the first time on Thursday…
It has been quite hectic, so I haven’t thought about it that much but of course it will be a proud moment. I thought it the other day, when I made my debut for the national team, when I made my debut here, and made my debut at Norwich as a manager, they are three of the proudest moments that I have had.

on why he didn’t wear a suit at Norwich…
It was so quick, the suit was at the dry cleaners so I couldn’t get it ready! No, I have seen the Premier League and seen coaches in a tracksuit, coaches with a suit, and I have seen coaches with a sweater, so I will decide on a matchday what I will use.

on whether he has been fitted for a club suit…
We will see if I have one or not, we haven’t had one fitted yet with the club suit but I can’t see that is a discussion but I will make sure you know what I wear.

on the challenge Brighton will pose…
Yes, I watched them a little bit, they look good, they change formations a lot, so we will see what they come with. They try to play out,  defend well, they look very organised but for me we need to concentrate on our own game. We play at home so I take into account how I think they will play but I have to develop the gameplan how we want to play football and that’s what I try to concentrate on.

on how he thinks he can change our fortunes...
I think the only way to change an atmosphere in the stadium is by how you play. Like you said, the fans were amazing at Norwich. I felt like they got more and more energy the more that we played in the first half. We were on top of Norwich and I think the Arsenal fans got energy from that. That helped. But they were great, even when we went 1-0 down or 2-1 down, they were even louder and they helped us. That's important for the players. When it comes to the Emirates, the fans want us to win football games. They want us to play good football and I think the only way to try to get a good atmosphere and get them going is to try to achieve that. Whether that's me or someone else as a coach, I don't think that matters so much.

on whether criticism of defence is justified...
No, I think my players try to defend. Of course you can have different types of players in the squad. That's just a fact, that you have different types of players. We've had a gameplan we've tried to execute and I want to defend. Of course we need to try to find solutions. If players are not super quick and we say, 'You've got to sprint for this or that', that's going to be difficult for that player. In general terms, we try to put out a structure so that everybody knows what to do. The main thing I saw in the game is that we let them get into situations where it was just a sprint. It was not about football or technical stuff, they just went in a competitive sprint with our player. We want to stop that.

on not winning a league game for almost two months...
What I try to focus on is going forward. I've been here, I've done two training sessions now and I don't want to talk about the coaches before. I think Unai did a great job and was a great leader, and a fantastic coach. That's not for me to judge. I look forward. The main thing for me was that when we were at Norwich, we hadn't won an away game since the first game of the season. I felt that the players could react that way and in my opinion, we played well offensively. It was good. But now we go forward.

on whether he'd be happy to step back into his old role if a new head coach comes in...
Yeah of course. I work for the club and what the club wants me to do, that's where I'm going to be. Of course I'm very proud to have this opportunity but the future will tell what happens.

on how many changes he'll make for Brighton...
It would be a bit silly of me to tell you what I'm going to do! We'll see. We'll need to look at the fitness levels of the players and who's fit, who isn't. We have some players who were still injured before. We'll see.

on what he can fix in the next couple of days...
Yesterday was a recovery day for the ones who played. Again, today, they have to recover because we play a lot. We're training but the ones who played at Norwich will join us tomorrow in a short session. Of course we look at videos and the small details. I think it's vital to change against Brighton. Of course, like I said before, if you have a pre-season for six or eight weeks, there's a lot of things you can work on. Here you have to think, 'That little piece is very important so that's what we're going to focus on'. That's what we want to do.

on speaking to Arsene Wenger…
No (not yet), I would really like to speak to him. I’m in contact with him but I haven’t spoke to him because it’s been a bit hectic, but it’s on my list to do so.

on the change from last Thursday’s defeat to Frankfurt…
I’ve tried to build on what you saw at Norwich, that’s what we’re going to try and build on. At the same time, Brighton is a different opponent, they are very well organised, I think they look good so it’s going to be tough for us but, of course, we are going to try and build on what we did in the last game.

on his involvement in potential January signings…
I’m going on a match by match time now so there’s nothing that I will get involved in. I think we have a very good squad but it’s up to the big bosses of the club in regards to what they want to do.

on a lack of Swedish coaches in the Premier League...
I don’t know why that is, I think there are a lot of great Swedish coaches. Of course, it’s an honour and it feels special. I lived here for a long time now and I’ve just being trying to work as hard as I can to get a chance and they gave me a chance. At the same time, I don’t think it matters where you’re from, I just try to do a job.

on Sven-Goran Eriksson…
Sven is intelligent, I spoke to him a lot when he was the manager of England because he was watching our games. I know in the past, some stories of how he treated players and how he made them feel good and things like that. I have stolen a little bit of those ideas. He’s a great coach, it’s been a long time, and I hope I can speak to him soon.