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Ljungberg focussed on Arsenal's next game not permanent role

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By Reuters
Ljungberg focussed on Arsenal's next game not permanent role
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - October 27, 2019 Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg with the players before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien   -   Copyright  Tony O'Brien(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Arsenal’s interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg said on Saturday he had not considered taking the role on a permanent basis and was focussed on taking things game-by-game and improving the quality of the team’s performances.

Ljungberg, 42, was named interim boss on Friday after Arsenal sacked Unai Emery following the Premier League club’s worst run in over a quarter of a century, with the north London side winless in seven games in all competitions.

Arsenal are eighth with 18 points from 13 games, eight points off the top four and the Champions League qualifying places, and Ljungberg said his priority was getting the club back to winning ways when they visit Norwich City on Sunday.

“They (the board) just said concentrate on the next game and do as good as you can and we will see from there,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Sky Sports. “I will just concentrate on those players… and I will try to do the best I can.

“For me, it’s about the team and the club. Try to concentrate on the game, not the future. Try and win that and a few other games and then we will see. That is what I look at and everything else is totally irrelevant.

“I’m learning the trade and trying to do everything I can to improve myself… but at the moment I’m just concentrating on taking it game-by-game.”

Arsenal were criticised for playing insipid football under Emery and Ljungberg said he would prefer his teams to approach games with an intent of playing the “entertaining football” the club was famous for under former boss Arsene Wenger.

Ljungberg, who spent nine years at Arsenal as a player, was a member of Wenger’s “Invincibles” team that went an entire season unbeaten en route to the 2003-04 Premier League title.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The club said their former German international defender, academy manager Per Mertesacker, would be in the dugout to support Ljungberg at Carrow Road.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)