“I felt we had probably lost a connection with the fans” Ljungberg recalls being Arsenal boss

Former Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg has opened up on what his brief time as Arsenal coach was like.

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, the former Arsenal player described the situation at Arsenal when he took over on interim basis as ‘turbulent’.

The former Swedish international, who was a member of the famous ‘invincibles’ side of 2003, joined Arsenal in 1998, spending nine successful years at the North London side. After his return to Arsenal in 2013 as an ambassador, the Swede began his coaching career.

A short stint at Wolfsburg followed, and by 2018, he was back in the Gunners set up as a coach with the Under-23’s. 

A year later, he was in the first team coaching group.

However, following the sacking of Unai Emery after a run of poor results, the Swede was appointed Arsenal coach on an interim basis.

Now, almost a year after his appointment, the former winger has shed some light on the situation at Arsenal when he and Per Mertesacker took over the reins.

Speaking to Telegraph over Zoom, Ljungberg said:

“It was very turbulent. I felt we had probably lost a connection with the fans, and the players were not particularly happy in any shape or form. It’s just how it was, so it was difficult.

“But when I got asked it was a bit like ‘it’s Arsenal, I’ve been here for 20 years. It wasn’t about if it was the right time or if I should or shouldn’t do it, it was just like they need help and that’s my, not duty, but that’s my loyalty to do it. It felt like there were a lot of things to try to fix, but it was a great experience.

He also insisted that he took the job, knowing that another manager would ultimately take over from him.

“I didn’t think about the job becoming permanent because the club were very clear with me and said ‘we’ll look for a replacement while you are working,’ he said.

“In the first meeting. I asked if I could get an assistant who was out of a job to help me and they said ‘no’, so then I kind of knew it was not maybe for the long-term.”

Tags Freddie Ljungberg


  1. “We love you Freddie, coz you got red hair, we love you Freddie, coz your everywhere, we love you Freddie, because your Arsenal through and through”.

  2. I find it so interesting when someone who has actually been involved personally, unlike Campbell or Merson, describe their experiences.

    For me, this just shows what MA walked in to and the incredible strides he has made, both on and off the field.

    Perhaps the patience so many are asking for MA, should be considered after reading Freddie’s words?

    1. In reply to your last paragraph Ken, among a fair few on JA there is an unwillingness to be patient or they believe that all the wrongs can be wiped out/ obliterated in the time it takes me to sing , ‘ we love you Arsenal we do’

      It just isn’t possible.

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