Joe Montemurro reacts to Manchester City defeat

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Arsenal were beaten 2-1 at Manchester City on Sunday after a gut wrenching 93rd minute winner from Caroline Weir. Arsenal had taken the lead in the 3rd minute through Vivianne Miedema before Sam Mewis equalised later in the first half. Tim Stillman spoke to a despondent Joe Montemurro after the final whistle.

On getting caught in a transition for City’s winner…
We had the opportunity to manage the game and clear our lines and we didn’t do it.

On the plan to press City high up the pitch in the first half…
They lower a lot of players to build up and change the point of attacking areas we felt if we could keep them in those areas and keep them to one side that we could have some effect.

On whether frustration is the overriding emotion for him and the team…
There’s probably a few other words- but frustration is one of them. In the arc of the game we only played in patches and they had a lot more of the ball. You expect that here, we were at least compact enough to make sure they weren’t creating chances. I think I was more angry at the first goal to be honest, it was a set piece and we’ve worked on that all week.

On not having a shot in the second half…
There seems to be a tendency to drop off a little when you score against a team of this magnitude and that was frustrating. We could have controlled it better but we didn’t and in the end we got punished.

On Jen Beattie’s cancer diagnosis in October…
Jen is an amazing person and an amazing footballer and I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jen at Melbourne City and here what I love about what we do is that we have the opportunity to create awareness for these things and both City and Arsenal were amazing in the way they went about it and I was really proud to be part of that.

On the record against bigger teams and whether it’s a concern…
It obviously is because we can’t seem to get over these mental blocks and to be smarter in these scenarios. Yeah it is a problem and we need to address it.

On conceding late goals against City and Chelsea recently…
It’s obviously a mentality issue, to work out “we’re away from home, we’ll settle for the point”, we know this is a difficult place to win. I can’t kick the ball for them the players have to make those decisions on the pitch and we had opportunities to clear the area and we’ve got world class players who have played in World Cups and big games making decisions in those situations, what more can I say?

On the absence of Lotte Wubben-Moy….
Lotte didn’t travel with us, she hasn’t been feeling well this week so we decided to err on the side of caution.

On whether he feels Arsenal are due some luck…
We don’t use that word here, that’s not controllable. We just keep playing our football and hopefully we have the mental strength and the characteristics to keep going forward and we’ll see how it goes in the next few games.

On picking the team up after such a gutting result…
As professionals we have to put it away and pick at the bits and pieces we could do better. It wasn’t a great performance from us against a very good team. We’ll reassess tomorrow and see how the players come to training and from recovery and we have to make sure we get three points next week or else we will be in not a good situation.

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Tony Hall

Same old story! Well, it’s out of their hands now, the ladies have to win every remaining game including three more against Chelsea, City and United and hope that Chelsea and United drop points along the way 🙁

verstellung

disappointing

Greg Robinson

Was on par with Chelsea at home last season. Got taken apart for 80 or so minutes. And the subs were baffling, Catley at RB with Jordan RM gave no width on the right at all so we could only play out one way which makes it way easier for city to press. Are we that reliant on Lia Walti being fit that without her we just crumble?

Nyeck Nyoba

From the interview, field atmosphere, etc, do you have a feeling that Joe is gone in the near future, Tim?

Remy Cee

Joe’s way is not the way. It’s all down to him. He needs to sort out the mentality. I don’t like the Chelsea manager but she goes in knowing her team will win. Not hoping they will. Big difference. Once Viv goes, others will follow. It’s a spiral. Small squad is his ego. We lost the league some years ago because of that. This time we lose cos he can’t motivate players who have played on the biggest stage. Admits there’s a mentality problem and in the next breadth talks about mentality to recover from this. Out of his depth.… Read more »

Max

Absolutely fuming. I get that he won us the Conti Cup and the league (with luck from a poor Chelsea start and too many City draws), but what in the world is he trying to do? He’s playing players who are not performing and leaving our best midfielder on the bench. We need Steph, Jordan and Lisa instead of Jill, Beth and Leonie. And even if he starts off with the wrong XI and sees that it doesn’t go the way we want (we only played well the first 10 minutes or so), he doesn’t make changes and when he… Read more »

Armchair

Isn’t Catley’s main position left back, where McCabe plays, or is equally effective on either side? One wonders why she was signed if Monte isn’t going to play her in a big game like this. She hasn’t played much, to be sure, but now was the time. I would have played Evans rather than Mead–but then it’s easy to second-guess the lineup after a loss. The Chelsea tie was totally bad luck, but it’s true the team simply has not played well enough in the big matches, and it is not scoring enough. One goal isn’t going to win many… Read more »

Max

Catley is a left back indeed. Don’t think she’s equally effective on either side, sadly. She’s indeed one of those players that should be playing in games like this.

Wes

The Chelsea wasn’t bad luck, we were dominated and resorted to playing long ball. Chelsea if they were more positive would’ve crushed us like they did back in January when Kerr came to the league.

Eeleen

I thought that ManU has to be the most annoying game of the season, but oh boy I was wrong. Our players don’t have mental block for those games, Joe has. He has no excuses today. His squad was mostly fit, he had to make right choices and basicly all of them were wrong. He had winning team, what based on the winning midfield. Now we have decided that we don’t need midfield to play football. We have 4 strikers up the field but no one who will get the ball to them. I don’t know what Jill’s role was… Read more »

verstellung

Our mid-field was completely overwhelmed. City were first to the ball 80% of the time. Jill or Malin should have been instructed to mark Mewis out of the game.

On a side note….Lucy Bronze is a complete Beast of a player.

Eeleen

It was game that was too big for Malin probably, but that was not the problem. We have suffered in midfield in all the games this year, even when we had Lia available. ManC played midfiled 3 against our midfield 2, because Jill was not a midfilder today. She was second striker hanging around Viv. She didn’t drop once to midfield to give outball to Kim or Malin. Kim had to play deeper because Malin needed extra protection, that ment space between Viv/Jill and Kim/Malin was ocean. I will never understand why he decided to move away from midfield 3… Read more »

Armchair

Well, every team needs secondary scoring–and forwards and the attacking mid typically fill that role, no? Would Nobbs have made a difference in the midfield against ManCity? I’m skeptical. She is an attacking player herself–and not very physical, doesn’t win a lot of challenges, I don’t think. But I agree there have been some consistent issues in the midfield in some of these big matches. I have not yet seen the game–but can you really compete with ManCity when you’re playing a youngster (Gut) in a key spot in a three-player midfield? I’m skeptical.

Chin

Mental block again?! I thought the coaching team should have noticed this way way back!! So is this statement to prepare the fans not expecting any sort of victories against the big teams (ManU, Chelsea, Man City) in future? Agreeable that the world class players did not display their characters at all…Guess what? Follow after Jill Ellis footsteps when the USWNT failed in 2016 Olympics…Show them the door if they have no intention to buck up, this goes to the coaching team as well!! If Casey can lead ManU to top the WSL table within 2 years’ time, maybe Rachel… Read more »

Just_arsenal

In women’s football chelsea and man city are big teams, but man utd is just bristol city with different logos. ✌️

trugun

Not a fan of Casey Stony but I have to give her credit where it’s due, she’s doing a great job with Man U and they are visibly getting better every game every year, cobblers to the Bristol City analogy just-arsenal you are watching the rise of the next big club in the WSL. I see more and more people are coming round to my way of thinking re Joe, he has to go, sooner rather than later while we still have a core of decent players left. If a change is not made in the next few weeks imo… Read more »

Vonnie

Joe Montemurro needs to be replaced by a manager that has the balls for big games. Same old, same old story, he’s a bottler.

Dan

I like Joe, I like what he’s trying to do, but I do think he’s tactically naive in big games and too slow to make adjustments.

We were all over City at first, and as soon as they got on top towards the end of the half he didn’t react and change something.

Just_arsenal

why almost all the coaches have reasons not to be blamed, I started to think that it was Joe who had a problem with the mentality of playing against the big teams, not the players.

Marieke

Do we think Casey talks like that? Do we think Emma talks like that? No… Casey tells her girls every single day they need to understand what it means to play for Manchester United. Jackie has said in a Dutch interview that they are on the brink of being arrogant. They are told they can beat everybody. They are expected to act like they can beat everybody. Even in their 2nd year in the WSL they are told that a loss or draw is not good enough. They bring in players like Tobin and Christen because they have a plan… Read more »

Armchair

Montemurro came from the Australian league, yes? It’s a decent league but not a big-time league, and maybe Joe is a bit over his head in these big games, or maybe Arsenal don’t quite have the players needed to win against the big rivals. It’s certainly hard to compete with a team of ManCity’s strength when you’re starting a 20-year-old defensive midfielder. That’s disadvantage Arsenal, right there. I think Monte needs to rethink his personnel and formation.

Marieke

Yeah I think Malin can be a great signing for us, but she’s too young for a game like this. She might become an amazing midfielder one day, but we don’t even know if it’ll be with us. Thinking about the long term won’t make you win the game right now. I think Jill has made huge steps. But she’s a good player when you give her time and space to play her own game. When she’s not challenged too much. But in a game like this, she doesn’t have that opportunity and you see that she is not as… Read more »

JohnnyCash

It could have gone either way. We were not outplayed. Still imho 4-1-2-3 needs great wingers, not just good like we have. When we played 4-2-3-1 and we had Rood as AM it worked better.

E-gooner

We DO have great wingers. Joe just needs to start them though – and not just for the last freakin’ minute. Yes, I’m talking about Lisa Evans. She is fast, versatile, positive… Why bench her?

Armchair

She should have started–she’s good. I prefer her to Mead, which is not to say that Mead isn’t a very good player. But I like what Evans brings a bit more. Montemurro needs to pack the midfield in these big games.

Eeleen

We were outplayed. We had 2 shots all game. Our goal game from their mistake. Our defence (Leah, Beats, Katie) being very good today, is the reason it wasn’t hammering. We played 4-2-3-1. Kim was playing next to Malin, not next to Jill. Jill was AM and she was totally useless. (not blaming her, I don’t have a clue was she was supposed to do). But just a statistical fact for you… we have not won a single big league game in two years where Jill has played. Not one…

JohnnyCash

1) “I don’t know what Jill’s role was supposed to be today”
2) “Jill was AM and she was totally useless”
Choose one version please)
Joe played 4-1-2-3 because it is more defensive. But wingers just dont have enough class to create on their own. With 4-2-3-1 and Roord as AM we destroyed opponents.
If you just want that old-school Kim Little-Jordan Nobbs middlefield that doesnt work in modern football it is only your problem.

Eeleen

Position player plays on the pitch doesn’t say absolutely anything about her role in the game. AM can be played about ten different ways. She played as a 10, but what she was supposed to do as 10, I don’t know. And yes I would absolutely prefer Jordan over Jill, but I don’t have problem with Jill as long as it works. I like Jill a lot, but I have seen games like that two seasons now. Jill is perfect for beating up weaker teams as shadow striker, whose role is to ghost to the room Viv vacates. In big… Read more »

JohnnyCash

Jill can pass and shoot, she is powerful, mobile and has good vision. When Joe put her as №10 it allowed Kim Little to create from the deep, it allowed our wingers to have not one but two options to pass to, and it allowed Roord to simply show her best game. But when she plays №8, it means wingers are the only creating force. And they are just not good enough for that. Central players cant really go forward, they have to occupy the room in the middle. Everything falls apart. Joe really used 4-2-3-1 after that catastrophic game… Read more »

Armchair

Well, if the formation was 4-2-3-1 then, yea, any attacking mid is going to be playing high and expecting the back six to get the ball forward. That’s not to say she shouldn’t be tracking back, but how are you going to get opportunities and shots if you’re in the defensive half?

Eeleen

Attacking mid can be played many different ways, as creator, as scorer as facilitator, etc. But they should be able to connect our midfield to our attack. And today our midfield and our attack lived in the different worlds. I don’t care what the gameplan was, ball didn’t get to the attack, so someone needed to drop deeper to help the ball upfield. For me Jill, Caitlin, Beth are all doing the same thing, moving to the space Viv moves away from. But somebody needs to get the ball to that zone first. Or if we are playing without creator… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Can someone answer a simple question because I do not understand. Arsenal like to play from the back, knock it about a bit to draw the opposition on to you, the play a ball through missing out midfield to create a chance. That works against the lower ranked teams but when you are facing Man City (or Chelsea for that matter) they press so far up they have as many players on the edge of our box as we do. There are a few hurried passes, some of which get charged down and could end up anywhere until one of… Read more »

Eeleen

In theory I understand that. It gives you more room up the pitch. But for that you have to play through the team couple of times. My problem is that it seems to be THE ONLY thing we are doing. All good teams play out from the back, City does it, but it is not be all, end all of football tactics. We have gone so deep in the other end of this spectrum, that it is so stupid. It seems that we are choosing goalkeepers by distribution only. We are constantly conceding one goal per game because goalie error,… Read more »

Falooda

Absolutely zero surprises about the result. In fact, the most surprising thing about the result was it took City so long to score the winner. We were outshot 19 to 2! Not a single thing was learned from this match. Outthought yet again, as is Joe’s specialty in these games. There’s more to tactics than just choosing a general way of playing. You have to play the right players against the right teams, have a plan in place to counter what the opponent might do when you can’t just roll them over, etc. The team looks woefully underprepared for the… Read more »

Chin

I just hope Joe reads this….better steel-minded to improve and win rather than steel-minded not to listen….

Viv The 🐐

Now I know what big game Arsenal is all about. From minute 10 we forgot how to play football. We couldn’t pass the ball, neither hold onto it. And when we did, everyone held onto it much too long. I must say I couldn’t watch the whole game. It was too …. I don’t know … too hard to watch. And I think I never did that before. Anytimr. I don’t talk about sacking him noe. But they have to have a serious talk at the end of the season. Depending how we are doing. But my god. As soon… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Lots of negativity on here but I wonder what the tone would have been if we held on for 1-1 or even the 1-0? Personally I thought we had a good first half given who we were playing, and got a bit lucky with Viv’s interception but what a finish! Unfortunately, a defensive error cost us the equaliser. Lydia either had to punch that away or make sure no one else got to it but Mewis had a free header effectively. My conundrum comes towards the end of the game. Swapping Leonie for Steph I get as that was an… Read more »

Xuan

Tone would still be the same, because we were only good for first 10min, and totally got outplayed after that. Just look at the statistics. A draw wouldnt have been useful because utd and chelsea dont look like dropping points at the moment. They just keep grinding out wins.

awfc clown

Everyone in WSL knows that we don’t have strong midfields to connect our game now. We are good with Kim-Jill in smaller games since Jill is a strong attacker (just make her a forward at this point really, a sub for viv maybe) but against big teams a midfield can’t just wait upfront to be fed the ball. We need creative and strong midfields, either Joe started playing Nobbs again and see how it goes or he needs to sign stronger midfields (like Mewis for City, Harder for chelsea, heath for Man Utd) We can’t just keep wishing Leah will… Read more »

Goonersince55

I only listened to the audio of the TV commentary on the FA Player, and couldn’t bring myself to watch the highlights this evening. However, I could hear enough to realise that exactly what I’d feared would happen did: Sam Mewis completely out-muscled our midfield, and scored from a header. It really doesn’t sound as if this threat was thought through, even though it should have been obvious. And the substitutions were weird. I don’t think Joe is as out of his depth as Mike, but that’s little consolation!

Goonersince55

Autocorrection has turned Mikel into Mike. Anybody know a good manager called Mike?

Beth

Joe needs to give us a better chance in these games and start our best line up! Why Nobbs doesn’t start as a central midfielder is beyond me. No one else would creating anything apart from McCabe.