Arsenal U23 boss Freddie Ljungberg on beating Spurs U23 4-0: My players are brave

Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal on the touchline during AFC Hornchurch vs Arsenal Under-23, Friendly Ma

Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal on the touchline during AFC Hornchurch vs Arsenal Under-23, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 31st July 2018 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Freddie Ljungberg has been speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette after leading Arsenal U23s to a resounding 4-0 North London Derby win over Tottenham Hotspur U23s on Friday.

The victory meant that his side now move up to 6th in the Premier League 2 Division 1 ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City.

After the game, Ljungberg mentioned that the way he wants the team to play football is starting to click and that encouragement from the touchline is a big part of that.

He said: “I’ve always believed in positivity. As a player, I played better when I was talked to in a positive way.

“I tell them, ‘I don’t care if you try something and it doesn’t come off, that’s okay because you tried.’ I’d rather they be brave and fail because they’ll learn from it.

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“That’s my job and that’s what I feel is important. To give them small details. If I see something, I can tell them to move a few yards one way and it might work but they’re so brave in trying all the time which makes me very happy. I just try to help.”

As a coach, Ljungberg is in his second spell at Arsenal, having led the U15s in the 2016-17 season and taken over the U23s in the summer.

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This year, he’s seen players like Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and more gain first-team experience.

After Friday’s victory, he also expressed what it is like preparing the squad for the next stage of their careers.

He added: “That’s the biggest buzz I get. It makes me very happy and if they get a chance in the first team, I want to have taught them things so Unai Emery only has to fine tune a few things that aren’t alien to them.

“In my opinion, they are doing things now that can be done in the Premier League. Hopefully, when they can the chance, they’re ready. Whenever and wherever it is, they will know how to play men’s football.

“They also have amazing individual quality so sometimes, I can just sit back and enjoy.”

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