Freddie Ljungberg is pleased his u23 side got the chance to test themselves against a senior team in AFC Hornchurch, and thinks the young team performed well on Tuesday.
Speaking after coaching the youth team to their first win under new management, Ljungberg insisted the important things to take from the game are the chance to play against senior players, and sticking to the team’s principles. As so often in pre-season, the result is secondary.
“It’s great for the boys to see real football,” he said. “For me this is what I remember as a kid, what I’m used to. They stuck to our principle. I want to play football, we keep the ball, move it in different pockets, we did really well.
“They kept on playing, against men, which they’re not used to, so I think that’s very important for them. We kept playing the football I want to play, moving the ball, and in the end I think we broke the record for how many shots we had on target!
“Of course we would like to score some more but the longer pre-season goes, those will go in the net. They played really well.”
Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners on the day, with Charlie Gilmour, Tyreece John-Jules and Daniel Ballard getting the goals.
Now they’ll complete their final preparations for the new season, with their first Premier League 2 game against Manchester City at 13:00 on Saturday, August 11th. The u23s are aiming to defend their title, after winning the league in 2017/18.
As well as the league campaign, the youngsters will play in the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time this season. Arsenal have drawn Cheltenham, Coventry and Forest Green in the group stage of the competition.
The advantage of the tournament for Arsenal is that it’ll give the players further chances to play against senior teams, in this case from League One and League Two. Hopefully they put together a run similar to the one they managed in the Premier League International Cup last season, where they reached the final.