Joe Willock says Arsenal players believe in Freddie Ljungberg

Joe Willock has featured in 11 Premier League games for Arsenal so far this term 0:41
Joe Willock says Freddie Ljungberg told him to 'play with happiness' on Sunday

Joe Willock says Arsenal's players "believe in" interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg after he drew his first game in charge at Norwich on Sunday.

Ljungberg has taken the reins on a temporary basis following the sacking of Unai Emery as Arsenal continue to search for a new permanent manager.

Max Allegri and Brendan Rodgers are on the shortlist for the vacant job, but director Josh Kroenke admitted Arsenal are in no rush to appoint a successor, meaning Ljungberg may stay in charge for the immediate future.

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City side are currently second in the Premier League, after six consecutive wins 2:39
Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson want Brendan Rodgers to replace Emery

That would be no issue for Arsenal's players, after Willock revealed that Ljungberg had the full backing of the squad.

"To be honest, we know collectively that we need to improve, whoever the manager," Willock said.

"Freddie is a brilliant manager. We believe in him and we're working hard to try and improve."

The 20-year-old midfielder also described Emery as a "very good manager" and says Ljungberg told him to "play with happiness" before Sunday's 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.

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"He said the most important thing was to play with happiness, to get the pride in the badge back and to work to win," Willock said.

"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.

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

Ljungberg 'honoured' to lead Arsenal

Ljungberg is excited about leading Arsenal but he is not thinking long-term yet

Ljungberg says it is a "great honour" to lead Arsenal following Emery's departure.

"It is a great, great honour, that is how I feel," he told Sky Sports on Saturday. "I have this energy inside me and it is special.

"There is sadness obviously with what has happened with the club, but excitement too with what is coming up and the chance to play.

"It is just a great honour and that is what I told the players - you guys have to do the job, I can help and support, but for me, it is a great, great honour.

"I was proud, honoured that they trusted me to do it and deliver that. I felt excited because I feel we have some very good football players here and it is a great club. I felt excitement at such a big thing."

Could Ljungberg take the job full-time?

Freddie Ljungberg has plenty of things to work on ahead of Thursday's match with Brighton
Image: Ljungberg's next match in charge of Arsenal is against Brighton on Thursday

The search for Emery's full-time replacement has begun, with Allegri and Rodgers on the Gunners' shortlist, though it is understood the club will not rush an appointment, such is their faith in their former midfielder.

Ljungberg has revealed no timescale has been set for his spell in temporary charge and played down any immediate designs on taking the reins permanently.

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