Freddie Ljungberg is thriving as a man who can make a difference for West Ham United as demonstrated by his second assist in his many league games
The Sweden midfielder underlined his undoubted quality when he picked out Carlton Cole in the eighth minute of an exciting contest at the City of Manchester Stadium. As with his cross for Dean Ashton in the 2-1 win against Fulham a week ago, Ljungberg's precision led to a West Ham United goal but was disappointed to see the advantage slip, claiming "we did enough to win" against Manchester City.
"It was nice to get an assist for Coley. We should have kept that lead a little bit longer," he added, reflecting on the circumstances that led to high-flying City, managed by his compatriot Sven-Goran Eriksson, fighting their way back through Darius Vassell. "We kept on trying. In the second half we showed that were the better team. They have a great team and had a great season but we showed in the second half that if they are up there then we should be able to get there as well."
Of his personal contribution to an impressive awayday display, Ljungberg said he was not worried about adapting to an unfamiliar advanced role on the right of a 4-3-3 formation, having played on both the right and left side of a more conventional four-man midfield in recent weeks. "It was fun to play in and it felt great," the experienced summer signing said. "It was a little bit different."
He added that the manager had given him licence to come off the flanks in matches and show some of the know-how on the ball that has helped win league and cup winners' medals with Arsenal as well as 70 caps for his country. "Sometimes he wants me to go inside more to try to to make us play and get a lot of the ball. It depends a little on what we need but I enjoyed it.
"Against Fulham I played in a 4-4-2 and I really enjoyed that as well. It doesn't really matter for me - as long as we play good football, that's the main thing." As well as his key assist, Ljungberg very nearly turned match-winner as well, turning on the style in the 83rd minute to get away from Dietmar Hamann and Vedran Corluka before cutting inside and firing just wide of Joe Hart's right-hand post.
"It would have been nice to score but at the same time it was not really a good chance," he said. "I just nicked the ball from the defenders and came inside. I tried to get a shot in but it was a bit too far out unfortunately and it went into the side-netting." He followed that up with another effort on goal in the last minute - further evidence that he has the stamina to give his all for West Ham United, a point underlined by the fact it was his ninth match in just over five weeks.