Sunday 26 January 2020

Ljungberg's chances of landing job are unclear

Europa League, Standard Liege v Arsenal, BT Spt 2/Virgin Media Spt (KO 5.55)

Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. PA Photo
Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. PA Photo

Freddie Ljungberg claims he has yet to hold talks with senior figures at Arsenal over the full-time managerial vacancy.

The 42-year-old Swede was placed in charge on an interim basis following the sacking of Unai Emery last month.

He steered the Gunners to their first win since October 24 when they came from behind to beat West Ham on Monday night. Next up is a Europa League trip to Standard Liege with progression into the knockout stages all-but assured.

As Arsenal's hunt for a long-term successor to Emery continues and Carlo Ancelotti's name enters the rumour mill following his sacking from Napoli on Tuesday, Ljungberg's own chances of landing the job remain unclear.

"That's not a conversation I've had with the bosses," he said when asked if he still saw himself in the running.

"My job is to go from day to day, game to game, to try to help this fantastic club. That's what I try to do. All of those decisions are up to the top dogs.

"I've been asked this question a lot since I took over and I just try to concentrate on my job - that is to win football games and get us to play better football.

"What the club decides to do or who they choose it is totally up to them but I stay totally out of it."

Ljungberg revealed the likes of head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu were present in the West Ham changing room as Arsenal finally ended their nine-match winless streak.

The former Arsenal Under-23s boss has opted to return to the younger age-group to bolster his squad for the trip to Belgium, with a host of first-team regulars either rested or injured.

Kieran Tierney could miss up to three months after dislocating his right shoulder at the London Stadium, where a hamstring injury in the warm-up meant fellow full-back Hector Bellerin did not even start the game.

Granit Xhaka then suffered concussion and Nicolas Pepe a bruised knee, the pair both ruled out of the game against Liege and in a race against time to be fit for the Manchester City clash on Sunday.

Dani Ceballos and Rob Holding were already absent with hamstring and knee issues, respectively, and Ljungberg admits injuries are taking their toll on the shape of his squad.

He said: "It puts a strain on the squad but that is how it is."

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