Freddie Ljungberg ‘feels sorry for Arsenal’s young players’ despite Bukayo Saka’s ‘tremendous night’

Freddie Ljungberg
Freddie Ljungberg feels Arsenal’s young players are being thrown in at the deep end (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg ‘feels sorry’ for the club’s younger players as they are having to shoulder too much responsibility at the club.

The Gunners came back from two goals behind to draw 2-2 away at Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday night, largely thanks to 18-year-old Bukayo Saka.

The teenager brilliantly set-up the first Arsenal goal with a brilliant cross for Alexandre Lacazette to head home, then he curled in an effort himself to equalise.

Ljungberg was delighted with the performance of Saka, but also feels that the youngsters are being asked to do to much and experienced players must do more to improve the club’s fortunes.

‘He [Saka] was amazing,’ said the Swedish boss. ‘I feel sorry for our young players. A lot of them haven’t been on loan, they’ve not had that exposure to men’s football.

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka rescued a point for Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Some of them made mistakes but they’ll learn from those mistakes and won’t do them again. Bukayo had a tremendous night.

‘What I meant was that it was not fair to put the pressure on the young players. Experienced players need to take the lead.

‘I hope that’s because the experienced players have allowed them to express themselves.’

It was not a great performance from Arsenal overall, although Ljungberg was surprisingly upbeat after the point meant they finished top of their Europa League group.

‘We played really well in our game-plan in the first half,’ the manager continued. ‘They didn’t have any shots on target. We should have maybe been one or two up at half-time.

‘We got sucker-punched a bit, they scored two deflected goals… you can’t really slam the players for that. We could have folded but we didn’t.’

Arsenal were under the impression that they needed three points to secure top spot, but Frankfurt’s surprise defeat at home to Vitoria Guimaraes meant they just needed a draw.

Ljungberg claims that knowing the result in Germany is a reason his side didn’t go on to beat Standard: ‘2-2, we could have got a 3-2 but I had the information about the other score so we didn’t go too hard.’

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