Freddie’s first interview as Arsenal boss – “We need to enjoy what we’re doing”

So the long awaited axe finally fell on Unai Emery after Arsenal’s worst run of results in decades, and I think that most fans are reasonably happy with the promotion of Freddie Ljungberg to interim manager, in the hope that we can get Arsenal’s identity back.

So here I am going to give you the full transcript of Freddie’s first interview as Arsenal boss on the official Gunners website, in which he describes that he sees his first aim is to get everybody involved in the club, meaning the staff, the players and the fans, back into a happy place again, and try and get them to actually enjoy what they are doing for a change.

One comment that stuck out for me was when he said: “Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.” This, in turn, will also make the fans happy!

So here is the full transcript, and I am looking forward to seeing if you agree with me that he sounds very positive, and he gives me hope for the rest of the season…

This is what he said:

on what it means to him to lead the team…
It’s a great, great honour. I want to do as well as I can for this fantastic club and that’s what I feel today. I feel excitement and I’ll try to do a good job.

on his meeting with the players yesterday and what his message was…
No, I think what I say in the dressing room always stays there. But in general terms, I think we have some great players and of course we’ve had some problems. We haven’t had some results and that’s what we’ve got to try to address. But how we address that, I’ll probably keep to myself.

on whether he will be animated on the sidelines…
Yes, of course. I think I get involved in the game. That’s who I am. But at the same time, I try to step back and analyse the games. So it depends a little bit, so it can be a calm man or it can be a not-so-calm man. It depends!

on who will be assisting him…
That’s something I will work on a little bit and we’ll let you know when we feel we’re ready.

on whether he has interest in a more permanent tenure…
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.

on his experience in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg...
That every manager is different. Different teams, different things and different ways to handle players, exercises and what they think is important and how their plan thinks. So for me, all those things are just learning points and that’s what I’ve been trying to do, in my coaching life at least. To get points here and there and of course Bundesliga has a different football, so then you learn what the culture is from that country and what they think is important. It’s just ‘knowledge in the bank’.

on what his priorities are and what changes he will make...
Of course small things will change. I’m not going to do anything radical because 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. At the same time, we have one training session until the game tomorrow so we have to be intelligent with what you try to change because it needs to stick as well.

on how he would you describe his approach to the game…
I’ve been at Arsenal for a long, long, long time, I like entertaining football but of course at the same time you can’t concede goals. 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. Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.

on whether his under-23 team scoring 48 goals in 22 games tells us about his style of coaching…
We looked in 2019 at some stats as well, I remember we kept a clean sheet in five games out of nine, as well, so we tried to defend as well, there are different ways of doing it.

on whether his experience of playing for the club will help him now…
There’s a game tomorrow, I hope I have the values of the club, I understand the club, I think from the inside. That gives me a help, 100 per cent. I have been here for 20 years, so it’s very special to me. That’s why I’m saying it’s an honour to do this. When the club asked me to help them of course I said that’s a given, I will try to help them as much as they need. We will see from there.

on what his message to the Arsenal fans is…
They are amazing fans, they are. We need them and the players need them. That’s the main thing that I can say to them. We as players and coaching staff will do everything we can to make them happy, just enjoy the game.

on how confident he is about restoring a positive feeling around the club…
Of course I am confident, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken it when they asked me to help. If I didn’t feel I could help them I wouldn’t have done it, so of course I am confident in that way. I really feel that this club can all be brought together and put some smiles on to people’s faces again.

So, what do you all make of Freddie’s first interview as Arsenal boss?

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15 Comments

  1. S says:

    Yes it’s up to the players. If they continue to underperform then it’s clear that the club wasted millions on a squad that can’t be fixed

  2. Roshan says:

    I love how Josh Kroenke talks about ‘Arsenal DNA’.
    The Kroenke’s have no idea about Arsenal DNA and the history of the club, you can hear it when they speak. They have no idea! This is just a business venture for them.

  3. Roshan says:

    Leno
    Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney
    Torreira Willock
    Pepe Ozil (Auba/Martinelli/Saka)
    Laca

    This is how i want to see the team line up. Freddie will have the playing attacking football the arsenal way.
    At this stage i dont mind if we go back to winning games 4-3 like in the Wenger days. As long as we are playing exciting and winning. I’d take that at this stage just so i enjoy watching games again!

  4. Daulat says:

    Yes, all out attack. Overwhelming attack is what I want to see. I hope Freddie doesn’t fall into the trap of playing tentatively like Emery did, making players more defensive than they would want to play. We don’t have good defenders for a defensive play style. But we can attack. So that’s we should focus on. Aim to score 3-4 goals in first half. And then more in second. That should be the mindset.

  5. I hope Freddie will make an INSTANT impact like Mourinho is doing at Spurs. However, in the grand scheme of things, I really wonder if this squad is top 4 material. Can we really pip Chelsea and Spurs to the last champions league spot?

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Even if Ljungberg isn’t that good, he’ll still have an instant impact, given we’re at rock bottom. In regards to the top 4, I think it’ll be extremely difficult. Not only is there already a gap between us, our squad is terrible! I would argue that we only have the 6th best starting XI. Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Spurs, and even Leicester are better than us, man-for-man.

    2. Daulat says:

      @Quantic Dream: We have the squad to be top 4, but the problem is our players haven’t had a time to get used to any specific game plan. Football is a sport, and like any sport, muscle memory has an important role to play.

      Liverpool, Man City players have been playing with a specific game plan for a long time now. When players do that, they develop instinctive muscle memory for a lot of movements they make when executing those tactics, and they look so much at ease when doing so. That makes them look way better than they are.

      That is what our players are lacking. Our players haven’t had that time to develop those instinctive movements that comes through repetition, thanks to Emery’s constant tinkering and his WAY of reactive football. You will notice our players seem so much conscious of their movements that they can’t react in time, and when they receive the ball, they are blank. And they can see and judge the game past a few meters, hence lacking in creativity all around.

      I hope Freddie, sticks to a specific game plan, and let players attain ease and composure first. Then, creativity, imagination, vision, all will come eventually.

      1. @Daulat
        Great insight. I hope you are right and time is all that the boys need. However, if you look at the defence, we could give them all the time in the world but characters like Sokratis, Luiz and Mustafi have already peaked. Maybe they can improve though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        1. Daulat says:

          Yeah, our defense is a worry. That’s why I have a feeling Freddie will try to incorporate more calmer heads like Chambers and Holding. Even Mavropanos may get the nod too.

          But yeah Luiz, Sokratis should not be within the box. Luiz and Xhaka should interchangeably play in the midfield as they are very similar.

          Mustafi, well he is a weird one really. He could see more play though ahead of Sokratis and Luiz. Let’s see.

  6. @ThirdManJW.
    I agree. Our defence is pants, midfield is pants. Our strikeforce is where all our hopes are..we need Pepè to prove his worth and carry us to the top 4. After that, we will need a major overhaul especially in central defence. If Aubameyang refuses to commit, we should get rid of him asap. REINVEST the funds in the team.

  7. PxN says:

    I like the part about being happy and enjoying what we do. If you’ve ever had chickens or lived on a farm for a long time, you’ll notice that the animals reproduce and grow faster when they are happy.

    BTW, I read here and there from people saying Feddie doesn’t have a UEFA license so can’t manage for more than 12 weeks, and the license is a 12-month course. Here’s my take:

    If Freddie has been assistant coach for 18 months, has coached the reserves, but didn’t think it urgent to start working on getting his license, then he is more lacking in ambition than the board that fans like to accuse.

    Even in our work places, those that get promoted quickly happen to be those who keep taking courses in preparation for when an opportunity to move up presents itself.

    They say ‘luck favours the prepared’, if he didn’t prepare for when he’d be lucky, how can the players prepare for a ‘lucky’ goal or win.

    The man should be almost done with his license else … Well, 12 weeks ain’t that long.

    1. Daulat says:

      He has the Uefa pro license. That was just misinformation I guess.

      1. PxN says:

        I wish him the best.

  8. Viera Lyn says:

    Why should we expect a player of Auba’s caliber to prematurely commit to a team that has shown a glaring lack of commitment to winning…we should be praising players who are willing to hold our floundering club to a higher standard…if we, as a fanbase, did likewise many years ago we probably wouldn’t be in this mess…in fact we would be talking about how Klopp has changed the culture at the Emirates ever since we forced the Kroenke’s to sell their controlling interest in the club due to the overwhelming amount of public pressure…I can dream can’t I?

  9. James king Salam says:

    The players should now come together as one, support the coaches and starts winning. We’ll always stand by our great club. Gunners for life!!!

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