Arsenal sack Emery and name 'invincible' Ljungberg as interim boss
November 30, 2019 12:41 PM NPT
Soccer Football - Europa League - Group F - Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - November 28, 2019 Arsenal manager Unai Emery looks dejected REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
LONDON, Nov 30: Arsenal have sacked manager Unai Emery after the Premier League club’s worst run in more than a quarter of a century and appointed former player and fans’ favourite Freddie Ljungberg as interim coach, the Premier League club announced on Friday.
Emery’s final match in charge was Thursday’s 2-1 Europa League home defeat by German side Eintracht Frankfurt which extended their winless run in all competitions to seven games, the worst streak since February 1992 under George Graham.
"It has been a year and a half full of emotions, of great moments and some other more bitter ones," Emery said in a letter to the fans published on the club's website here
“But not a single day has gone by without me stopping to think about how lucky I have been to work for this club with these players and their professional and personal qualities.”
Spaniard Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger in May 2018 and took Arsenal to the Europa League final last year but frustration with their erratic league form this season has grown, with the team sitting eighth in the table with 18 points from 13 games.
"The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required," the club said in a statement here
“We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.”
Ljungberg, a member of Wenger’s “Invincibles” team that went an entire season unbeaten en route to the 2003-04 Premier League title, was appointed assistant coach in June and will now take over while the club searches for a new head coach.
While Arsenal can still reach the Europa League knockout stages, supporters at a half-empty Emirates Stadium made their anger known on Thursday by booing the Spaniard, with a handful of them holding up cards saying “Emery Out”.
Josh Kroenke, on behalf of the club’s owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand.
“We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”
The 48-year-old Emery, who won the Europa League three times with Sevilla, failed to lead Arsenal back into the Champions League after finishing fifth in the league and missing out on qualifying by losing 4-1 in the Europa League final to Chelsea.
“To all of you who have supported us from every corner of the globe, all of you who have come to the Emirates, all of you who have waited in the rain and cold just to greet me after a game. I want to tell all of you that I have worked with passion, with commitment and with effort,” Emery added in his letter.