Freddie Ljungberg: ‘Great honour’ to lead Arsenal after Unai Emery exit
Arsenal caretaker Freddie Ljungberg says it is a”great honour” to lead the club following Unai Emery’s death – but has played down talk of doing the task on a permanent basis.
Ljungberg, who was the assistant of Emery, was set in interim charge of the Gunners on Friday after the Spaniard was sacked in the wake of the club’s worst run of results since 1992.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports ahead of the Gunners’ trip to Norwich on Super Sunday, Ljungberg, who won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups at Arsenal, stated:”It’s is a terrific, fantastic honor, that is the way I feel. I have this energy within me and it’s special.
“There’s despair obviously with what’s happened with all the club, but excitement too with what is coming up and the chance to play.
“It is just a fantastic honor and that is what I told the players – that you guys have to perform the job, I can help and support, but for me, it’s a fantastic, amazing honour.
“I was pleased, honoured that they trusted me to get it done and send that. I felt excited because I feel we’ve got some quite good soccer players and it’s a terrific club. I felt excitement in such a huge thing.”
The hunt for Emery replacement has begun, with Max Allegri and Brendan Rodgers on the Gunners’ shortlist, even though it is understood a meeting will not be rushed by the club, for example their faith within their midfielder.
Ljungberg has revealed no timescale has been set due to his fascination with cost that was temporary and played down any immediate designs on taking the reins forever.
“They just said focus on another game and perform as good as possible and we will see from that point,” he explained. “For me, I will just focus on these players, we’ve got a game [on Sunday] and that I will attempt to do the best I can.
“For me personally, it’s about the team and the club. Attempt to concentrate about the sport [in Norwich]not the future, attempt to win a few different games and this and we’ll see. That is what I look at and what is irrelevant.
“At the moment, I’m learning the trade and also trying to do whatever I could to improve myself of course it is an honor that the club thinks I am able to take on this large responsibility, but at the moment I’m just concentrating on taking it game by game.”
Ljungberg, who hasn’t yet confirmed his Arsenal captain, admitted the training floor mood was”odd” on Friday morning and said his attention was on raising morale as the Gunners head to Carrow Road looking for a primary win in eight matches.
“There was a small strange [atmosphere]… the players have had a mentor for quite a while, a fantastic coach, and other coaching staff that have vanished,” the former Sweden global, who had a short spell as assistant supervisor in Wolfsburg at 2017, said.
“This really is a really cut-throat matter in football and players are of course emotional also, but what I tried to do was as respectful as I could, and then when I coached the players – that I had been a player – I attempted to do a few exercises which brought a little excitement to create them not think too much and enjoy themselves and finally get them in a fantastic mood.
“I have had experience of players and staff being really down and you will find things in my personal opinion that you could do [to raise them], but at the end of the day if you play excellent football and get excellent benefits, there is not anything better to lift spirits.”