'I was very proud to stand with them' – Ljungberg's message to Arsenal fans

The Swede says he’s been “extremely honoured” to have served as the club’s interim manager, with his tenure set to draw to a close this weekend

Freddie Ljungberg has reflected on his “special” month as Arsenal’s interim manager, expressing how “proud” he has been to stand with the supporters during a difficult period.

When Unai Emery was relieved of his managerial duties on November 29, Ljungberg was asked to step up after a year-and-a-half of serving as the Spaniard’s number two.

The Gunners legend took charge of a squad devoid of confidence after a disastrous start to the 2019-20 campaign which has seen a number of key players struggle to live up to expectations.

Ljungberg’s reign didn’t exactly get off to a flyer, as Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw away at Norwich City on December 1, which set the tone for what was to come.

A 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton four days later highlighted familiar weaknesses in the Gunners’ defence, but they did manage to bounce back with a 3-1 win at West Ham which ended a nine-match winless streak.

A 2-2 draw against Standard Liege in the Europa League followed before Arsenal suffered a 3-0 defeat against Manchester City at Emirates Stadium last Sunday.

The Gunners ultimately decided to turn to another former player to take the club forward, with Mikel Arteta handed a three-year contract on Friday after being lured away from an assistant post with Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions.

And Ljungberg has sent a message to the fans as he prepares to take charge of the team for a final time when they travel to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday afternoon, insisting he’s enjoyed a “great experience”.

“It’s been a great experience. I’ve been extremely honoured to be the interim manager for this great, great club,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“Of course, it’s really nice to hear people say you’ve done good things, but also when you hear from players and other people close around you that you’re appreciated in certain things, that feels good. When people said we’d had progress in how we played and stuff like that, of course, that feels special.

“Maybe it’s wrong to say now, but I’m a little bit proud maybe. But the main thing is that we now have clarity and I want to thank as well, for example, when Unai left, he left with a lot of staff and we didn’t have any staff.

“We were short but I want to say thank you to all those people who have been trying to do jobs that maybe are not their jobs. I am extremely grateful for that and I think, together, we’ve done the best we ever could and we pushed ourselves to the limit.”

Ljungberg added on the support he’s received during his temporary spell in the dugout: “The support that I’ve got, and the team, it’s been great.

“Of course, to hear that song is a bit emotional obviously and they sing it so loudly, it’s been special. Even though we know City and Liverpool are in a different league, at home we had a young side on the pitch in the end and the fans stood up and sang, the whole stadium.

“I felt that showed. That’s the Arsenal I know. I was very, very proud to stand with them.”

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