Arsenal Women fell to a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea Ladies in the FA Women’s Cup Final on Saturday evening. Gunners boss Joe Montemurro spoke to Arseblog News immediately after the game.
On the mood among the squad following the game……
We’ve just lost a Cup Final so the mood isn’t great in the dressing room. The reality was that Chelsea deserved to score three goals and we just weren’t quite good enough on the day.
On catching up with Chelsea next season…….
Chelsea are the benchmark right now, they are one of the best teams in Europe and probably the best team in England at the moment too. They have a magnificent squad and a powerful squad, but it’s a learning curve for us. We’ve played them three times this season and they’ve all been tight games but we’ve not been able to beat them.
The best of those performances was probably the 3-2 defeat at Chelsea in January, I felt we had long periods in the ascendancy and we were pretty hard done by. That was the game of the three that we actually dominated, I felt.
On the strategy for the match…….
Structurally there were a few things that went wrong, we went out to press them a little higher and didn’t quite manage to do that. They took control of the middle of the park and we got stretched, so they were able to play in between us- that was a problem in the first half, especially.
We tried to flatten out our back four a little bit for the second half because they were getting some joy on the wings. We tried to go with three up top and in the first 10-15 minutes, we exposed them quite a lot. I think they found it difficult to cope with Jordan (Nobbs) starting on the right and moving inside in those opening minutes. But in the end, our strategy didn’t work and we go back to the drawing board.
On the final three league games of the season………
It’s going to be difficult, the game against Birmingham last week (a 3-0 defeat) really took its toll. That was probably our most disappointing game this season and that’s coming off the back of copious amounts of games.
We were so good against Liverpool, so good against Reading recently where we played some of our best football. It looks like we’ll be a little bit off the Champions League this year but we have to be realistic and understand that we’re not quite there yet. I’m one for long term development and I would prefer to do it properly and qualify well rather than getting in by the back door.