‘Emery in the past & Arsenal want pride back’ – Willock says Gunners ‘believe’ in Ljungberg

A product of a famed academy system in north London is looking for a positive new era to be opened at Emirates Stadium, allowing pride to return

Unai Emery was “a very good manager”, says Arsenal youngster Joe Willock, but the Spaniard’s reign is now “the past” and the Gunners are looking to “get pride in the badge back” in a new era.

Freddie Ljungberg has opened that, with the Swede in interim charge for Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Norwich.

It remains to be seen how long a caretaker role will be filled, with Arsenal back in Premier League action on Thursday at home to Brighton.

Willock insists the Arsenal squad are fully behind Ljungberg, with the plan being to make the coaching spell of a club legend as productive as possible.

The 20-year-old academy graduate told Sky Sports: “To be honest, we know collectively that we need to improve, whoever the manager.

“Freddie is a brilliant manager. We believe in him and we’re working hard to try and improve.”

Willock was involved again in a four-goal stalemate at Carrow Road, having taken in a career-high number of first-team performances under the guidance of Emery.

He will be forever grateful to the Spaniard for the faith shown in him but is eager to move on now that a managerial change has been made, with Arsenal needing to get back on track after slipping to eighth in the Premier League table.

Willock added on switching focus to Ljungberg: “He said the most important thing was to play with happiness, to get the pride in the badge back and to work to win.

“Every day in training we’re trying to get that competitiveness back. I feel like [our luck] is going to turn in one game, and we can push on from there. It’s coming, hopefully.

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“Friday is in the past now. Emery was a very good man, a very good manager.”

Arsenal find themselves seven points off the pace in the battle for top-four finishes this season, but Ljungberg has stated that he considers the Gunners to still be in the mix.

He may be given the chance to help push the north London giants back towards that pack, with it unclear how long the process of recruiting a new permanent manager will take – with there several names said to be in the frame.

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