Press conference

Freddie's reaction: read the key quotes

Freddie Ljungberg went through a range of emotions in Liege.

For much of the game it looked like we'd have to settle for second place in Group F. Then there was a brief moment where we were in danger of failing to qualify. Then the realisation that our comeback had snatched top spot.

Our head coach reflected on Thursday's game in his press conference, and spoke about the need for leadership from senior players.

Here's what Freddie said:

on looking anxious on the touchline in the second half...
Yeah of course, it was a bit difficult because I thought we played really well in our game plan in the first half and created a lot of chances and they didn't have, I think, any shots on target. We should have made it in one or two goals up at half-time. That's what it felt like, at least. A bit of bad luck and we then get sucker-punched a bit. They then scored two deflected goals and of course there's a lot of points to learn from before that, but they're still two deflected goals that you can't really smash the players for. But then, the reaction we had, we believed in how we played, we kept on playing and we found the pockets and we sliced them open for two fantastic goals. As I said to the players, away from home and - no disrespect - but there was not so much grass on the pitch and at 2-0 down you can be like 'ugh, I'm not going to bother any more' and fold and we didn't. We actually kept going and we came back to the game and then 2-2 and maybe could've gone up 3-2 in the end there as well. But at the same time, like I said, I got the information about the other scores and we were trying to not go too much.

on if he knew that Frankfurt were losing...

on what the fightback says about the character of the team...
Tremendous. Really proud of them. That's what I said to them after the game, it's a tough place to come and be 2-0 down, like you said, tremendous fans in my opinion, a great atmosphere and they showed that belief in how they can play football and their own quality. That shows good for us in the future, of course they need experience yes and they need to play but that heart and that fight and that belief was amazing to see from the sidelines. And maybe I should also mention the energy they do it with. They go and they go and they go and they don't stop.

on whether the impact of young players changes his thinking about needing experienced players to step up...
​​​​​​What I meant with that was no disrespect to the older players, but I was a young player myself once upon a time and if you are in deep trouble, that's not fair to put that young pressure on a young player. You have to change it for us, players that play for many seasons, that are experienced pros, those are the ones that need to take the lead. Of course we've had young players that have played really, really well and have worked really hard, so I think as well that's a little bit hopefully that the experienced ones help them to feel that freedom and they can express themselves and they can go but of course some of the young players have done really, really well.

on the intense bursts of scoring in the last two games...
I believe that even in the first half against West Ham, and today, we tried to have possession and maybe it was a bit slow because we didn't have the intensity, but it wears the opponent down. What we did in the first half, we sliced through them and we probably should score. I thought we did really well in the first half. But that pace at the end of games... people get tired, they get out of position and they can't follow us all the time. Sometimes you have to plug away in a game of football and maybe when your opponent gets a bit tired you get that extra metre and that's when you score the goals. For me that is part of a gameplan, and part of a game, that hopefully, if you plug away, it gets easier the later it gets.

on finishing top of the group...
Of course, it's very very good. We started [the group] really well and then we had some problems in two games and then we came to this. We have played a lot of games lately and of course I wanted to give the young ones a chances, but I also needed to rotate because we have injuries in the West Ham game and I didn't have many options left. We have a game again on Sunday, so of of course it was a little gamble but I believe in those players and we pulled through and are top of the group.

on how he is finding being in charge...
It is a mixture of every emotion I have ever experienced! We didn't win today, but when we won the other day and qualified today, it is a very nice feeling obviously. I try to do the job as good as I can, and sometimes that is hard. That is part of work, and everyone who works knows that work is hard sometimes. I do enjoy it but the main thing is that we won the group and we won the other day, and the club can move on. That for me is the main thing, the most important thing, and I go from day to day, and game to game.

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