Great Britain

Arsenal caretaker Ljungberg knows Gunners are years away from challenging for the title

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG knows Arsenal are years away from challenging for the Premier League.

And Arsenal’s interim boss reckons it is Liverpool and not Manchester City who are now his blueprint for success.

Ljungberg will be in charge today when Arsenal host City at the Emirates, as the club continue their search for axed manager Unai Emery’s successor.

Asked how long it would take before the Gunners could emulate champions City, the Swede said: “You can’t do anything overnight.

“I try to impact things on the grass but that’s not so easy. We don’t have much time to train.

“I’m a fan and I want Arsenal back winning trophies but as I say this won’t happen overnight.

“Of course there are things to fix now and that we can do better.

“I have a list of about 10 to 15 things we need to urgently get right. But you can’t do all those things at once.”

Ljungberg does not expect to be in charge of the club for long and has not discussed transfer targets next month.

And though City are often held up as the benchmark, he has been impressed by the manner in which league leaders Liverpool have recruited first-team stars.

He said: “Liverpool have been extremely good in the transfer market. They see something they need, they go in big and get it.

“They have had some tremendous success.

“Of course, part of football is the transfer market but I’m working on a day-to-day basis. There have been no discussions with me about transfers.

“I’d like to think about planning long-term for this and that but I can’t because it’s a day-to-day job and I try not to tease my brain that way.”

Ljungberg has presided over one win, two draws and one loss since replacing Emery in November.

The former midfielder stepped up to become assistant boss at the start of the season from his role as Under-23s coach.

For the time being, he is relishing the position.

He said: “This is an incredible honour. I’ve been preparing for this for five years.

“I did the second team because I knew I’d want to be the boss somewhere.”

Ljungberg spent nine years working under icon Arsene Wenger, notably being part of the 2003-04 Invincibles side.

He reckons man-management is key to anybody thinking of working in 21st-century football, adding: “The old days when you can stand and scream at someone and say ‘do this’ and ‘jump that high’ — they have gone.

“You need to have close communications with players to tell them what you want from them.

“I try to make a lot of time for that. It’s vital.

“I’m happy when I see the players are smiling. You have to be professional but they’re still human.

“When confidence goes, it’s hard. I just want them to smile. Happy players play better.”

Granit Xhaka is out with concussion while Nicolas Pepe and Hector Bellerin are 50-50 for the clash with City.

Freddie Ljungberg, speaks about his side's performance against West Ham after Arsenal cruise to their first win under the Swede