By Nik Brumsack
Laura Harvey has paid tribute to her Arsenal Ladies squad after they became the first team to complete an unbeaten Women’s Super League season.
The WSL champions, who won 10 of their 14 games, sealed the record with a 1-1 draw at second-placed Birmingham on Sunday - a result which saw them finish eight points ahead of their closest rivals.
“I thought it would be really difficult to go unbeaten this year. To do it is a fantastic achievement for the squad,” Harvey told Arsenal.com.
“I think the strength in depth has played a major role, and not just the strength, but the quality of the strength we have in our squad. Even now I’d struggle to name my strongest starting 11.”
“We knew last year that in the league, one defeat or one draw could mean not winning the league,” Harvey added.
“This year, we went unbeaten but the league wasn’t decided until the penultimate game. It just shows how tight it is. You have to set those standards, to try and go as far as possible without dropping points.
“To have won it the way we did, with the number of points we have is really pleasing, and the added bonus is that we didn’t lose a game.”
After retaining the WSL title, Harvey’s team could do the same in the Continental Cup when they take on Birmingham at 7.00pm in Wednesday night’s final at Underhilll.
Defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final prevented the Ladies from defending their domestic treble of 2011 - a regret that Harvey believes has driven the team to success elsewhere.
“I think the big thing that sometimes pushes you forward is disappointment,” she said.
“The disappointment of losing against Chelsea in the FA Cup drove everyone on to say we didn’t want to feel that again.
“The Chelsea game was our fault because we didn’t perform. We allowed a team to come and take charge of a game that should never have happened.
“I think when you have a defeat like that, the disappointment can drive you on to want to go and achieve other things.”
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