Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Jonas Eidevall full of praise for ‘great human being’ Joe Montemurro

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall has paid tribute to the work of his predecessor Joe Montemurro. The two coaches go head-to-head at Emirates Stadium tonight as the Gunners take on Juventus in the Champions League match day four.

Montemurro left the club in the summer of 2021 to pursue a new challenge in Italy, with Eidevall appointed in his stead. Jonas has come into contact with his opposite number before by attending a coaching clinic Montemurro staged in Sweden while he was the Arsenal boss.

“I spoke to him briefly in Turin. He came across to me as he always has done because he is a very nice human being,” Eidevall explained. “I don’t have a direct connection with Joe. But I did meet him at a breakfast meeting in Sweden once.

“He was delivering a clinic for coaches and I had a friend who invited me over so I could speak to Joe for an hour or so and it was very good and I had my eyes on what he was doing at Arsenal.

“He achieved great things when he was here, people speak very highly of him and it certainly helped my start at the club to come here with a great group of players and staff to work with.”

Eidevall retained the services of assistant coaches Aaron D’Antino and Leanne Hall upon his arrival, both of whom were appointed by Montemurro. “He had educated and worked with the staff here very well so I have a lot of respect for him and I wish him the best of success in the future but not tomorrow!”

Arseblog News asked the Gunners boss about the tactical adjustment of playing Katie McCabe, a left-footed player, on the right-wing in the absence of Beth Mead through injury. Beth has been a fixture on the right, her natural side, since joining the club in 2017 whereas McCabe operates as an inverted winger.

“When you roll from out to in with your wingers, it opens up very different passing lanes,” the Swede explained. “More on the diagonal and on the opposite side of the pitch. When you have wingers who face the goal or on the outside, it opens up the space behind the opposition defending line.

“It gives the full-backs on the opposite team a different dynamic, so we work with both. We have a way to attack when we have a winger wide and a way when we invert a winger. Sometimes we do the same on both sides and sometimes we go a litle more asymmetrical.

“That can be opposition dependent but a lot of time what is opposition dependent for us is what we think gets the most strength from our own players. That’s what matters most. We try to put them in sitiations where they will play better.”

The coach highlighted the importance of Katie McCabe’s tactical flexibility during this period. The Ireland captain has played left-back for most of the last eight weeks but started on the right wing against Everton on Saturday.

“Katie has played so well for us as a left-back, the versatility she brings is so important, her flexibility and the quickness she has in adapting to different roles, that is very important for us. Every squad needs players like that who are on the pitch consistently but can cover a variety of roles.”

Eidevall also admits that he feels as though the team can see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to injuries. Leah Williamson and Rafaelle have returned from injury after eight weeks out, with the coach hopeful that Lina Hurtig and Kim Little can return before Christmas.

“I did not really communicate this clearly at the time (to the press) but when Leah and Rafa got their injuries in the same week and we knew they would be out for a relatively long-time, you know that you are going to go through a period of six to eight weeks where things are not going to get better, every injury is just going to accumulate the situation- and that is not good.

“Now they are coming back and the other players are progressing well and that’s a positive situation but now we have to integrate those players back into the team, we have to work on our basics and not take for granted that things will just take care of themselves.”

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