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Ljungberg not taking Liege lightly as Arsenal get set for Standard test

PUBLISHED: 20:54 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 20:55 11 December 2019

Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Despite Arsenal’s place in the Europa League knockout stages being all but confirmed, interim boss Freddie Ljungberg is not taking Standard Lige lightly ahead of their clash on Thursday evening. Read on to see what he had to say.

Arsenal Academy manager Per Mertesacker (left) and interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PAArsenal Academy manager Per Mertesacker (left) and interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg during the training session at London Colney. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

On the injury situation...

"Of course, it's not good. We got one in the warm-up at West Ham and then another full back [got injured] in the game. But it's just one of those freak things. One is to the head [Granit Xhaka] and one is a shoulder [Kieran Tierney] in a tackle. You can't do much about it, but of course it puts a strain on the squad. But that's how it is."

On selecting a young squad and if there's a risk of undoing recent work...

"We have a few injuries and we've played a lot of games lately and we have another game again on Sunday. But I think we've brought enough, we've brought a lot of firepower here and we have some younger players that have as well played earlier in the group stages. It's not just now, they've been playing the whole time so it's a big game and we're here to get a good result and we have a lot of respect for the opponent."

On speculation over Carlo Ancelotti...

"I have been asked these questions a lot since I took this over. I try just to concentrate on my job and that is to try to win football games and to get us to play better football. What the club decides to do or who they choose is totally up to them. I stay totally out of it."

On if he feels like he could get the job if he impresses...

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"Again, that's not a conversation I've had with the bosses. My job is to go from day-to-day, game-to-game and try to help this fantastic club. That's what I try to do and all those decisions are up to the top dogs."

On how he reacted to joining the first-team staff and how he's developed our young players...

"That's a complicated question but yes, when they asked me to do that job in the summer, like I've said before it was an honour. Of course I worked hard and I tried to do my best and it's always nice to get recognised for the work you do. What I understood was as well, how I tried to make the under-23s play and how we developed young players like the man here [Joe Willock]. But then if you say how do I do things, I try always to look at each individual player and see what his strengths and weaknesses are, and I ask how can I develop that player to become a better player and not just to do the same to every single player. I think every coach does the same thing and that's what I try to do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And if I can add one thing, it's probably to say that I try to see what players can do and not focus on what they can't do."

On whether he's heard any feedback from senior management after Monday...

"Everybody was in the dressing room after the game, except for the owner because he was not in the country. So of course, they were very happy with the result and celebrated the victory with all of us."

On whether he fears that there could be a lack of interest in Thursday's game from the players...

"Of course it's a very important game for us. We know what's at stake and we think they will probably come at us because they need to win the game. Of course, in the Premier League in December, we play a lot of games so regardless of who was here, it was not the game, sometimes we have to change. But we have a lot of respect and we definitely don't take it lightly. We want to win the game and get a result and play in Europe for the rest of the season."

On what he knows about Standard Liege...

"They are a club and a name who are well known in Europe. So I knew about them beforehand. I saw them when they played in London obviously and you could see that they tried to play football. I like how they play football, it's nice to watch and I watched a lot of videos of how they play and try to come up with a game plan which hopefully doesn't suit them. But I have a lot of respect for how they play football and they have a great coach as well."


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