Bernd Leno says Freddie Ljungberg told the team to be braver in the second half against West Ham, and he gave them the freedom to be the ‘real Arsenal’.
For the first 45 minutes, Arsenal’s performance against West Ham felt all too familiar. The team did have a lot of possession, but no real chances. Then, they fell behind.
Even the goal was too predictable, coming from another deflection after another header from another cross the team should have closed down. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno admits they knew the performance wasn’t good enough.
“You could feel in the first half we had no confidence,” Bernd Leno said. “In the half-time (break), we talked to each other and said we have to change something.
“The performance in the second half was impressive, we controlled the game, scored some nice goals, took our chances and it was well deserved. This result must give us confidence for the next weeks.”
For 10 minutes in the second half, Arsenal were at their free-flowing best. The Gunners raced from 1-0 down to 3-1 up, and they did a good job of seeing out the game after that.
Leno explains how interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg got them to come out of their shell at half-time.
“Freddie was talking and analysing,” Leno continued. “He showed us some situations that we needed to be braver. We did this. It is a good feeling, we all missed the feeling.
“He was calm but in a very straight way. It was not like everyone was not trying, but you could feel that we did not play in a free way and he made us more free to play.
“You could see this more in the second half. After the second and the third goal you could see how we can play with more confidence. This is the real Arsenal.”
Arsenal have a tricky run of fixtures coming up, so they have to maintain that confidence. The game against Standard Liege on Thursday is a must-win now. Not only to secure top spot in the Europa League group, but also to keep the good feeling going.
Then the Gunners have to host Manchester City, which should be a free hit for Ljungberg. If they can get anything from that game it will really put the team in a good mood going into the Everton and Bournemouth away fixtures. One win isn’t enough, but it’s a start.