In the football journalist Olof Lundh's newly released book "The national team according to Lundh", several national team players who shared a locker room with Zlatan Ibrahimovic anonymously testify about how the superstar at times threw out harsh words and engaged in mental breakdown of certain teammates.
The information has been confirmed by an unnamed longtime national team leader who in Aftonbladet stated as follows after Lundh's book release:
- It was adult bullying at a high level.
This is something you would basically have reported to the police.
It was horrible.
Håkan Sjöstrand has been criticized for how he responded to the information about the climate that is said to have prevailed during Ibrahimovic's last time in the national team, where he rather distanced himself from the "black painting" he believes affected Zlatan rather than be appalled by the accusations against him.
In an interview with Viaplay, Sjöstrand says that he doubts that the testimonies are true.
- No, that does not have to be true.
There is much that is perhaps exaggerated in stories that are written.
Within the framework of this, you have to see that it is an anonymous source in some way, and I think it takes much more before you start painting someone black in that way.
- When you live in the national team, at the extreme elite level, it is clear that in combination with adrenaline, that you lose, strength and will, not everyone is happy at the same time.
After losses, one thing and another is said.
But to make it something other than what it is, I think it will be wrong.
Then I think it takes much more than an anonymous source saying anything.
Commented on Zlatan's attack
Sjöstrand was also pressured on questions about why he did not go out and defend Janne Andersson after Ibrahimovic's attack on the national team captain after Dejan Kulusevski started on the bench in the Nations League meeting with France.
What a fucking joke.
Incompetent people in the wrong positions that suffocate Swedish football ", wrote the AC Milan star on Twitter.
- I talked to Janne about how we should handle this and this was an opinion that he (Zlatan) had linked to a player selection.
Then Janne would take it to a press conference.
Because this was a player issue.
- Our roles are very clear there.
About what he thinks about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's harsh words against Janne Andersson, Sjöstrand says:
- It is clear that it is more fun if the biggest player we have had through the ages is with us.