On taking heart from the performance…
Heart, belief, there’s a lot of words that describe what we can be and what we should be on a regular basis. I’ve always believed in this team, I’ve always believed in the personalities of this team. It’s the intent. If the intention is right, we’ll defend well, we’ll attack well. it showed today. I’ve probably never been more disappointed than today, not to take all three points.
On the plan to escape Chelsea’s press…
We’ve localised two areas that they press, it’s either a diamond and a two, or a flat four, with the two up top. We felt that if we could pull one of the players away centrally then their wide players would have to narrow up and then we’d have the opportunity to play out in wide areas. We did it and we did it with a bit of depth and a bit of smarts too, because the idea then once we got the ball out wide was to change the point of attack through Lia Walti, and we found some good space.
On a first WSL draw since April 2018 and whether it felt like a defeat….
Yes, very much. I was speaking to Leah Williamson after the game and I think we were scared from the Yeovil draw in year one, so we’ve tried to avoid draws… We’re either full throttle or we’re not very good. There’s no in between. But I’m proud today to say that, against one of the best teams in Europe, I felt we dictated what we needed to do, we defended well and when I hear ‘long ball, second ball’ from the opposition team, with the quality of players they have got, it brings a smile to my face.
On being more animated on the touchline today…
It’s the Italian in me, it comes out every once in a while… [chuckling]. We had a discussion this week as a group and I just felt we needed today focus in every moment in the game. Chelsea, the very good team that they are, will get you in a moment that you switch off. I just felt we were able to keep the energy up and keep the alertness, in all modes of the game. I was probably a little bit more vocal than I normally am. It might be the new Joe Montemurro.
On the importance of having Jill Roord and Kim Little back in the physical battle in the middle…
Yes, probably not so much the physical battle, I think they could settle on the ball and we had immediate pressure on the ball through their base setup, but I was more happy that we were able to retain the ball and really find gaps and areas to open them up through Beth and Caitlin, and probably not so much through Viv today but it was a moment of magic from Viv to be able to create the goal. Yes, obviously you plan a team for a starting XI and we just haven’t been able to put out that starting XI, but today at least we got a little bit of a taste with the players coming back, but we look forward to everybody else getting fit.
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) November 15, 2020
On a really unfortunate Lotte Wubben-Moy own goal seconds after being announced as player of the match….
We’ll have to speak to the announcer, to not announce i! That’s the first thing we’ll do, but look, I’ve got to commend Lotte, under a lot of pressure, under the situation, she looked like a seasoned professional today. Have a look at that, Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy, two centre-backs, it’s amazing and maybe something excited for England going forward.
On whether Arsenal will allow their players to return home for Christmas….
It’s a difficult one, it’s a very difficult one. We’ve already had a discussion about this and the pros and cons. We will be allowing some of the younger players to go home. We’re leaving it pretty much up to the player. But it’s a difficult one, so we’re going to have to get a situation where the FA intervene or someone, a government intervenes, to allow them to go home. But at the moment, it’s a tricky scenario. Mental health is a big one, especially over that Christmas break. We’re assessing it and we’re in constant consultation with the players. We will find a solution to give them the best opportunity of seeing their families.
On dealing with pressure moments better today….
We’ve done a lot of soul-searching in those areas, because they [Chelsea] are a great team who can hurt you in certain moments. I think the biggest thing this week was not to focus on the outcome, not to focus on being judged on the outcome, but to focus on every moment, to focus on how each player can affect the situation, how each player can be affective for the team. We did a lot of work in that domain and everyone worked in both phases, with the ball and without the ball. There was a collective belief today. So as I said before, I’ve always believed in this team, I’ve always believed in the capacity of this team, it’s up to them how far they want to take it. Sometimes it’s more a mental state, it’s more a belief, more an intent, than an actual global sort of thinking.
On moving Miedema to the left for the last 30 minutes…
We told Viv to float away and take one of their centre-backs away, and for Caitlin to come centrally, to combine a little bit more. They obviously changed their system in the second half. They went with a flat front three up top, with Pernille Harder just behind and Ji and England as pivots, if you want to say that, so we had to make sure we could expose them a little bit further up. Look, we got them in that moment. The sad thing is that, even for the cross that they scored, we had that under control, it was a blocked cross. That’s life.