Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘I’m not happy with my performances yet’ Lia Wälti speaks ahead of Hoffenheim clash

Arsenal midfielder Lia Wälti spoke to the media ahead of Arsenal’s UWCL matchday six tie against Hoffenheim in Germany. Tim Stillman was there for Arseblog News (virtually, of course!) The first question is from Arseblog News. With thanks to Ameé Ruszkai from and Dan Pentland from Her Football Hub.

On Lia’s assessment of her form this season and how much she was troubled by an early season ankle injury…
You know what to ask! You basically hit the point for me. I started with an ankle injury, so I had a bit of struggle at the start of the season, but I managed to be ready for the first game. I think after that, it took me quite a while to adapt to the new role in the team. I think my position changed quite a lot and, I have to be honest, I’m not fully happy with my performances yet, especially not with the consistency of my performance. I think it does take a bit of time. But I think I’m an experienced player, I need to be able to adapt to a new coaching style and I think takes me a bit longer than I wish for. But I see in certain games that I can be back on my best and I am just trying to build on that.

On how her role has changed…
I actually ask this question to myself a lot, because I can’t really explain it that well. I think my position is a bit higher up the pitch, so I press higher than I was used to pressing with Joe (Montemurro, the previous coach). I was more involved in the whole build up the last season than I am now. So my position is maybe a bit less central. We also played a couple of times with two sixes, which, again, changes my game a little bit. That is exactly the problem I have. I do think maybe about it a bit too much. Maybe the changes are not even that big. I just need to kind of adapt and it needs a little bit more time and I expect that as well from me, especially because I think I have enough experience to adapt to a new coach or new coaching style.

On the 4-0 win over Hoffenheim in October not telling the full story of their quality…
Yeah. I think like that. I do think we had quite a good game that day and I think we were pretty effective in front of the goal. I can’t really remember that we had a couple more chances than what we scored. I do think a German team is always hard to play away, first of all, and they have nothing to lose. They basically can play free. But so do we and I think we just need to be smart tomorrow, to expect them to be aggressive, to go for the balls and to maybe get the momentum in our counter attacks.

On whether the Leicester win lifted the mood around the team…
I think the Leicester game was a really difficult one for us and coming back after two losses like that is not always easy, but I think we show character on Sunday and we managed to play a good game. Now we’re back in the winning mood and we want to keep going like that for the last two games. I think we’re full of confidence after Sunday.

On returning to Germany where she played for Turbine Potsdam for eight years…
I’m really excited. I always look up to the German league, I think that it is still one of the best leagues in the world. When you look at the table, you can see that they (Germany) still have a lot of good teams in the league and they can steal points off the big teams which are currently still Wolfsburg and Bayern. I’m really happy to be back.

On her memories of playing against Hoffenheim for Potsdam…
Hoffenheim always had a good squad which was made up of young players. It was always quite hard to play them, I can’t remember a game when we were clearly beating them. I think we need to be aware of that tomorrow and bring our game on the pitch. We are definitely not going to underestimate them.

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Great assessment of herself.

She’s among a pool of players that I am still waiting to see me from this season. Parris, Heath, Boye, and even Catley, are the others. Would be super helpful if they could all raise their game a notch for the second part of the campaign.

Fun Gunner

Struggling a bit to get her head around how she can contribute, I don’t blame her but I’m sure it is starting to click.
She’s spot on about Hoffenheim as well. Very tricky fixture.


Actually, she played for Turbine Potsdam for five years only, from 2013 to 2018.

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