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Evening Times - - SPORT -

Arse­nal in­terim boss Fred­die Ljung­berg called for clar­ity re­gard­ing the man­age­rial po­si­tion at the club fol­low­ing a chas­ten­ing 3-0 de­feat to Manch­ester City.

Kevin De Bruyne struck a first-half brace for the Premier League cham­pi­ons and also set up Raheem Ster­ling to help Pep Guardi­ola’s team cruise to three points at the Emi­rates.

It was another dis­ap­point­ing after­noon for the hosts and Ljung­berg, who has over­seen five matches since Unai Emery was sacked, has urged the board to make a de­ci­sion.

Academy man­ager Per Merte­sacker is sup­port­ing the Swede in the dugout, but

Arse­nal have only tri­umphed once un­der their in­terim boss.

Ljung­berg, inset, said: “I think I’ve said to the club, for me it is a great, great hon­our to do this, but Per is an academy man­ager and he is do­ing two jobs in one go and I’ve said I think it needs to be cleared up so ev­ery­body knows.

“That is some­thing I’ve said, but it is to­tally up to the club. I’m very hon­oured and I’ve tried to do things as good as I can, but I think as well it would be good to make a de­ci­sion re­gard­less of what it is.”

City were two-up in­side quar­ter of an hour, with De Bruyne pulling the strings be­fore he added a sub­lime sec­ond five min­utes be­fore half-time.

The third con­sec­u­tive home de­feat for Arse­nal in all com­pe­ti­tions leaves them seven points off the top four and the ex­act same num­ber of points off the bot­tom three.

“Of course it is not where we want to be, to have won one game in 11 and we all have to look in the mir­ror,” Ljung­berg added.

“What I felt was the West Ham game was a big step in the right di­rec­tion. I haven’t seen that from a team of ours for a long, long time where we were much bet­ter than the op­po­nent, played good foot­ball and we could have been 4-1 or 5-1 up.

“To­day we played a top, top side and they are bet­ter than us. That’s just a fact and I don’t think any­one be­fore this game thought any­thing else.”

Guardi­ola’s as­sis­tant Mikel Arteta cap­tained Arse­nal dur­ing his play­ing ca­reer and has been mooted as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to Emery.

But the City man­ager said: “I spoke many times, he is part of our group and an im­por­tant per­son, but what will hap­pen I don’t know.”

This three-goal vic­tory for the vis­i­tors cut the gap to lead­ers Liver­pool to 14 points, with De Bruyne the star of the show. Guardi­ola de­scribed the Bel­gian as “ex­tra­or­di­nary” be­fore adding: “It was a nice game and we won it. Kevin made two in­cred­i­ble goals and one as­sist. I am happy for the three points.

“He sees passes and ac­tions that nor­mal hu­man be­ings can­not see. Hav­ing a spe­cial vi­sion and his as­sists, I al­ways say you have to score more goals.

“Al­ways we speak to him about that and to­day he scored two in­cred­i­ble goals.”

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