Press conference

‘I’m proud of the way that we came back twice’


Freddie Ljungberg took charge of us for the first time as our interim head coach on Sunday as we were held to a 2-2 draw by Norwich City.

Afterwards, he faced the media and discussed the performance, what it means to be leading the club and our top-four hopes.

Read on for a full transcript:

on being in charge of Arsenal, and the performance…
Of course, I was proud and honoured to be allowed to stand there on the touchline and leading this great club. If we look at the game, we started really well and I thought we dominated totally and found pockets and created chances. I would probably expect us to take the lead and go for that. The problem I think is that everyone can see that we had problems in transitions while we had possession, so that’s something that’s easy for a coach because we know what we need to work on. That’s to lock and not get countered on in those ways. After that, I'm extremely proud of the players because they came back twice from one-nil down and especially when they get 2-1 just before half-time. Normally as a coach the morale goes down and we came out fighting and maybe at the end of the game it became a bit too open for my liking. I saw my players getting tired, but in the end it was a draw. Of course, I was hoping Lucas was going to put it in the back of the net in the last second, but that’s how it is.

on whether he’s confident that better results will come…
[Yes], 100 per cent. For me, from what I saw in the first 30 minutes, the belief and how they went and how we played, that’s good. In my opinion, offensively we were good, and one thing, when we went on-nil down, it wasn’t players shaking their heads. They were saying, ‘Come on guys, we can sort this out.’ That shows for me that the belief that they know they’re good players and we want to change a negative trend. For us, on our run, it was a difficult game and I think the players did very well.

on the time it will take to implement his style on the squad…
I say in the pre-season, in five or six weeks, you can implement how you want to play football. That’s the good thing about pre-season. It’s not what I have and I just try to do small building blocks and try to change things in a slow tempo, so hopefully we can understand it and practice it, but right now we have players who need to recover and we probably only get one and a half (training sessions) again before the next game. That’s football, for me I just try to make it as simple as possible for the players and hopefully we can get better.

on the players having a fresh start under his guidance…
I haven’t had a word with the players but for me that’s how it works. I have been here for three months and last year I was the manager of the under-23s and I saw every game for the first team so I have an opinion about how we can play and what players to use. I try to see things like that, everybody has a fair chance and what I see in training and in games is what I will judge them on.

on the defence…
I think when we dominated the game, we had the possession and it wasn’t a big problem. We have problem in transitions, and that’s what I will try to fix. We want to be a club that has possession and hopefully when we have the ball and the opponents don’t they can’t shoot as much.

on the opportunity for him…
I hope the club, where I have been for a long time, knows what I can do and what I can’t do. I’m looking just forward, day-by-day, and I’ve just been very honoured that they have trusted me to do this. I’ll try to help the players as much as I can and that’s how I see it.

on whether we can reach the top four…
[Yes], 100 per cent. People drop points here and there and we drop points, it’s a crazy league at the moment. I hope and think Arsenal can finish in the top four.

on bringing in more coaching staff…
That is something we are working on. When I know and when it’s clear, we’ll let everybody know.

on keeping Nicolas Pepe on the bench…
Pepe is a very good player. Like I said, I try to look at what players have done in training and that’s how I judge them.

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