Joe Montemurro Reacts to Conti Cup Final Defeat

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Following Arsenal Women’s Conti Cup Final defeat on penalties against Manchester City, manager Joe Montemurro gave a press conference attended by Tim Stillman for Arseblog News. A full transcript is provided below….

Joe’s thoughts on the game…
Penalties are always good fun, not really! But that’s the game and that’s part of it. Let’s be honest, Manchester City created the chances and we played in a little bit of an un-Arsenal way. We had to use the resources available to us, but from my perspective we saw an Arsenal with a big heart, a team with a huge backbone now and a team that showed it wants to work for each other and that it wants to go forward together and be the best.

On why Vivianne Miedema didn’t start the game….
Viv didn’t recover entirely from the game on Wednesday night, there was still a bit of fatigue and we felt that if we put her through a whole 90 minutes, we could be putting her at risk. We made a decision as to whether we put her at risk or have her for the final 30 minutes.

On what can be said to the players that missed their penalties…
I didn’t watch the shootout, I turned my back. I never watch them. We had a huddle at the end and we said that this is a team that wants to work for each other and a team with a big heart where the players will back each other up to the end to make sure we get the success we deserve to get for the way they work.

On the title race….
I’m not going to lie, the title and getting back into the Champions League has been our major focus. We want to compete in every tournament to the best of our ability, that’s our nature as a club and as professionals. Now we can be a bit more calculated in how we approach the title and we can make sure that we get everyone ready to win this league.

On the lack of goal scoring opportunities created by Arsenal….
When you play the way we had to today, you won’t create as many chances. We had to play in an un-Arsenal un-Joe Montemurro way, because that’s not my style. We had these resources and with these resources we had to come up with a game plan for that scenario. Did we play on the break? Absolutely. Did we want to keep the ball more than we did? Yes. These are finals and in big games, the big moments count.

On the performance of Leah Williamson….
For a girl of her age to show the maturity and the ability to understand the game, the way she positions herself- her positioning is like a 30 year old pro. She always finds the pass, she’s unbelievable. She has all the attributes to be an amazing footballer and an amazing centre-back on the world scale and England should be very excited about the prospect of her going to a World Cup with them. We love having her at Arsenal.

On the international break….
It’s mixed emotions, because they go away with their national teams which means more games, more training, where it would be great to be able to give them a little bit of a break. You know the resources we’ve got, all the injuries, the situation we’re in at the moment. We now need to get these players mentally fresh and get them ready for the run home, which we’re really, really confident in planning for to make sure that we get it done.

On deciding who takes the penalties…
I went to the players and asked, ‘who’s confident? Who wants to take one?’ and all of them said, ‘I want to win this, I want to take one.’ So we came up with an order and the players went about it their way.

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Billy Bob

So does this mean that the women’s champions league is only made up of champions, unlike the men’s which is a bit of a farse if truth be told!!!