Arsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro addressed the fans at Thursday night’s Supporters’ Club Q & A and insisted his side’s return to Champions League football represented just the beginning of their ambitions for the competition. Arsenal have endured a five-year absence from the competition they won in 2007.
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Nigel Mitchell began by asking Joe about his side’s WSL title triumph and how it was achieved
JM: “First of all I hope you can understand my Australian accent. No cricket jokes, please! The word I would use is honesty, we have that accountability in the squad and it’s important we all understand what it is to be Arsenal. What it means to wear that shirt every day in training, coming into Colney and seeing that big logo. Tonight is very special, I got to meet my idol Liam Brady tonight, so it’s a special night for me.”
Nigel asks Joe about the ten Arsenal players at this summer’s Women’s World Cup
JM: “They should be honoured to represent their country and we encourage that at Arsenal. In women’s football we don’t get many opportunities to showcase how amazing the game is and how tactically developed it is. That really showed in France and we’re just starting to talk now about football not women’s football. It’s just football.”
A question about the four new signings this summer
JM: “We did the work on those very, very early. We were very clear on what we needed. We’ve got the added pressure and expectation of being champions now and we’ll play in the Champions League. But we don’t just want to be in it, we want to win it. So we were strategic about who we bought.
“But there was succession planning too, so these are not short-term signings. We signed three players from Bayern Munich, first Manuela Zinsberger, who comes in with an amazing amount of experience. She’s 23, so she can underpin the succession planning in goal.
“We signed Jen Beattie from Manchester City and we needed a centre-back and one who can carry the ball out and play from the back in the way we want. I worked with Jen at Melbourne, she’s an Arsenal girl too. Jill Roord is 21, Dutch midfielder, who has that long-term view too. We then signed Leonie Maier who is a right-back. We’re looking pretty solid.”
On playing at the Emirates on Sunday
JM: “It’s one club here, we didn’t ask for it, the club came to us and said ‘we want you to be part of this’ and we feel very part of the family here at Arsenal. What’s really interesting is that we’ve been trailblazers here, now everyone is copying us and playing in their men’s stadiums.”
On playing at Tottenham’s new stadium in November
JM: “It’ll be nice to get a tour of the stadium and we’ll take the three points too, so all good.”
On playing at Boreham Wood and the redevelopments at Meadow Park
JM: “We really love it, we’ve made it home. What we really like there is the engagement with the fans. The players always stay behind afterwards to sign autographs and that’s important to us. We love it at Boreham Wood.”
On next season
JM: “We want more success, but we want it playing our way and in our style.”