Freddie Ljungberg: Arsenal interim boss wants 'good atmosphere' to return

Freddie Ljungberg talks to players during an Arsenal training session
Freddie Ljungberg took his first training session as Arsenal interim manager on Friday

Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg says he is focused on bringing a "good atmosphere" back to the club rather than making his position permanent.

The former Gunners winger was named Unai Emery's temporary replacement on Friday after the Spaniard's sacking.

Swede Ljungberg, 42, was Emery's assistant manager this season but has no head coach experience.

"I'm not going to do anything radical," he said.

"I don't think that's the best thing to do. I'm not going to just go and smash things up. But I'm quite clear with what I think I want to try."

Ljungberg, who spent nine years as a player at Arsenal and was one of the club's record-breaking 'Invincibles', will take charge of the Gunners for the first time at Norwich on Sunday.

Arsenal have also announced that former captain Per Mertesacker - now the Gunners' academy manager - will form part of Ljungberg's coaching staff "in the short-term".

Asked if he wanted to become the club's next permanent manager, he said: "For the moment it's for the future of the football club.

"I'm here to help the club as much as I possibly can and try to get a good atmosphere around the club and with the supporters and that's what I'm focusing on at the moment and then we'll see."

Ljungberg, who won two Premier League titles with Arsenal before joining West Ham in 2007, started his coaching career with the club's under-15s, before being named Wolfsburg assistant manager in 2017.

He returned to Arsenal in 2018 as under-23s coach before being promoted to the first-team set-up.

"I like entertaining football but of course at the same time you can't concede goals," he said. "That's a tricky balance to find.

"For me, happy footballers play the best football. That's a part I learnt as a player, there is a time to work hard but at the same time we need to enjoy what we're doing."

He added it was a "great, great honour" to be named Gunners boss.

"I am confident, otherwise I wouldn't have taken it when they asked me to help," he said.

"I really feel that this club can all be brought together and put some smiles on people's faces again."

Ex-Arsenal player Gilberto Silva has been linked with a return to the club to join former team-mate Ljungberg's coaching staff, but said he had not spoken to the Swede.

"At the moment, there is nothing," Silva told BBC World Service. "For us ex-Arsenal players, always when [there's] talk about Arsenal it's very emotional, it's very touching. The moment now for me is supporting him from outside.

"I'm happy for him. It's not an easy job for at the moment, but he knows the guys.

"They [the players] are the only people that can change the situation - I hope that Fred can help them win games and get the confidence back."

Top Stories

Also in Sport

Elsewhere on the BBC