Interview

‘I’m looking forward to sitting down with Mikel’

Freddie Ljungberg takes charge of his final game as our interim head coach on Saturday.

Ahead of the game he spoke to us about the challenges he’s faced, the honour of helping the club, hearing his name being sung by our fans… and the arrival of Mikel Arteta.

Here’s what Freddie said:

Freddie, you've seen a lot in your career but has this year been the most eventful one that you can remember?

Yeah of course. It's been a bit full-on. I've learned a lot and if a year's eventful, hopefully that's a positive thing.

What's the experience been like as the interim manager?

It's been a great experience. I've been extremely honoured to be the interim manager for this great, great club. Of course, everybody knows, it's been difficult circumstances, confidence has been low. Unfortunately we've had many injuries, but that's life. For me, the main job has just been trying to steady the ship and help as much as I possibly can. I feel honoured to have been able to do that. I've learned so much and I'm looking forward to meeting Mikel, and talking to him, talking about football. I think we can get this club back to where it belongs. It's been a great, great honour again.

You've had a lot of credit for the way you've conducted yourself, for the way you've carried yourself. You must be very proud of that.

It's awful difficult when you're in the middle of it to be proud of anything in my opinion. All I want to do is win football games, try to help and all that kind of stuff. Of course it's really nice to hear people say you've done good things, but also when you hear from players and other people close around you that you're appreciated in certain things, that feels good. When people said we'd had progress in how we played and stuff like that, of course that feels special. Maybe it's wrong to say now, but I'm a little bit proud maybe. But the main thing is that we now have clarity and I want to thank as well, for example, when Unai left, he left with a lot of staff and we didn't have any staff. Per then tried to juggle a bit being my assistant and being the academy manager at the same time. We were short but I want to say thank you to all those people who have been trying to do jobs that maybe are not their jobs. I am extremely grateful for that and I think, together, we've done the best we ever could and we pushed ourselves to the limit.

Your love for the club has really come through. The fans have been right behind you, they think you're a legend. What's it been like hearing your song again from the terraces?

That's been amazing. The support that I've got, and the team, it's been great. Of course, to hear that song is a bit emotional obviously and they sing it so loudly, it's been special. Even though we know City and Liverpool are in a different league, at home we had a young side on the pitch in the end and the fans stood up and sang, the whole stadium. I felt that showed. That's the Arsenal I know. I was very, very proud to stand with them.

You mentioned Mikel. How much are you looking forward to sitting down with him?

Of course. I'm looking forward to it a lot. Of course it's going to be a difficult one tomorrow [against Everton] because everybody knows he's taking over the team and the club. I just hope the players will still try to be motivated and go for it. With me and him, I'm really looking forward to sitting down and discussing things. I met him before, I have the deepest respect for him and his football knowledge. Together, I think we can do this very, very well.

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