Interview

Ljungberg on the win, maturity and Nketiah

Freddie Ljungberg recorded his first win as under-23 head coach on Friday night, in an entertaining 3-2 win over West Ham United at London Stadium.

The Arsenal legend was delighted with the fluidity and attacking talent on display, but has called on his side to show greater in-game management after conceding twice in the second half.

This is what he told Arsenal Media:

on the team’s dominant first-half performance…
I was so pleased with them and so pleased with the first-half performance. They played so well, rotations, game management, everything was great, so I said it to them at half-time – now I almost regret it because second half they forgot a little bit! But we won the game so that was great.

on how his side reacted to going a goal down…
We need to get better in our game management and of course they’re a young side, so experience is needed and that’s what we spoke about after the game. You know that in the first 10-15 minutes the opponents will come at you, so we need to think about that and maybe not make the silly mistakes that we did or go very short so that they can put you under pressure, but we’re learning and after conceding some very late goals and having some bad luck before, we got the three points.

on his side showing great composure in front of goal…
We tried to put on a show and we scored a few goals against City, but we could have still scored three or four more goals and the game would have been over, but we’re getting there and the boys are understanding how we want to play football and creating chances, so that’s good.


on what was different in the final third…
Of course, we scored more goals, but I think the main thing that I’ll take with me is that in the first half we were more mature and dominated the game, more clinical and that’s more of a men’s game in the first half than we’ve seen before in the season.

on how his side coped with West Ham’s late pressure…
We coped really well and that’s all they could do. West Ham had to apply pleasure and they were running and fighting and there was a lot of water coming down so it’s quite difficult circumstances to play in, but that will happen sometimes and teams will do that. In the midst of that we created some really good chances and probably should have scored them and killed off the game, but we’re learning.

on Eddie Nketiah’s performance…
I told him that he did really, really well. He scored some goals but as well as that he was dangerous and he held the ball way and his movement and work-rate was good. I told him that he played very well.

on recording his first win of the season…
It’s always nice! Mostly for the boys because they played well and I wish they could have had a win against Brighton because they played really well and had four players who are proper first-team players, so they had a really good game then and they equalised in the 93rd minute so I felt sorry for them, but they got the win today.

on what he can take from this game into our next fixture…
What we did in the first half - that’s the main thing! Of course we had the offensive and the nice stuff and we had rotations and created a lot of chances, but I would like to see better game management like we did in the first half where we controlled it totally.

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