Press conference

Freddie on the draw, Ozil, Arteta: full transcript


Freddie Ljungberg took charge of his final game as our interim head coach on Saturday as we drew 0-0 with Everton.

Afterwards he was asked about our performance, the youngsters, Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta and more. Read on for a full transcript:

on the performance...
For me personally I want to win. I feel we have taken strides in how we want to play football. West Ham away was the first time we won away from the first day of the season. We now had our second away game here. I want to keep possession, I want to wear opponents down and I feel like we did that well in the first half, but that make a difference in the second half. I felt like we played through the middle quite well sometimes. We had some clear chances - especially Auba's from the corner - that we need to score. Then hopefully we'd have won the game. I liked that we dominated the game. I put a very, very young side out as well and they fought so hard. I wanted them to win but at the end of the day it's a difficult place to come and they beat Chelsea here, they did well against Manchester United. Well done to the boys, it's a point.

on whether new head coaches being in the stands affected the players...
It's so difficult to say. I hope that they cared but at the same time I wasn't happy with how we played against Man City. I don't think we had enough energy, we didn't respect the game enough, and that's why I picked the team I did today. I said when I did this that I would give everybody a chance. I think I've given everybody a chance to play. If people then run and try hard in training, I would reward them and these boys have been doing that for three weeks. I felt like, 'OK, this is your time so show me'. They did. They really, really put an effort in there and I'm really proud of them.

on how he's felt about his few games in charge...
It was from one day to another - and I think we had six people leaving. You get no people there and you try to fill the gaps and do a lot of jobs yourself. I learned a lot about myself and tried to organise things, to get it done. It's been a big honour but as well it's been a challenge to try to sort those things out. I must then say that Per Mertesacker is our academy manager and he's been our academy manager plus being my assistant. It's not been easy for him because he's been going to kids' Christmas parties and then back to me, here and there. I must say a big, big thank you to him.

on whether he's spoken to Mikel Arteta yet...
I spoke to him a little bit yesterday, a little bit today. The club has said they want me to stay. Of course I'm going to have a chat with him tomorrow.

on whether Arteta spoke with the players...
He came down after the game and said similar things to what I just said.

on Mesut Ozil...
For me, I got asked after the game about Mesut. He walked off the pitch [in the Man City game] and then kicked his gloves. The fans were not happy. I got asked about it and said, 'At Arsenal, that's not how we behave and not what we do'. I stand by that. Mesut was injured but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it's not what I accept from an Arsenal football player. That's my decision. I won't make the decisions again but that's what I think.

on whether picking younger players was a statement...
I think we have a lot of talent but from what I said before against City, I wasn't happy with the effort we put in. We played a top team and of course they're very good, but you still need to run and you need to put in an effort. What I put on here today, I know they're young and don't have any experience - some even made their Premier League debuts and we had an 18-year-old at left back who's a winger - but they did really, really well and dominated a game against Everton away from home. We, as a club, should be very proud of that.

on how far away we are from the top six...
It's a difficult question to answer. For me, of course we're a big club. We're a bit low on confidence and it's been a difficult time we're going through, but we won away at West Ham and that was the first time we won away since the first day of the season at Newcastle. That changed us a little bit. Now here, we kept a clean sheet and got a draw away from home. We feel a bit stable. For me, the important thing is that we're Arsenal Football Club, we need to have possession. We should be keeping the ball and dominate. I know Everton were really strong from their long balls, their throw-ins and their set-pieces. That was difficult but that's what I'll take with us. I know Mikel is a great coach and he will make us even better.

on whether Arteta was in the dressing room before the game...
He came in for 10 seconds just before. Then he came in after.

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