“I was devastated when we knew we couldn't win the league. But we have to win on Friday to make the Club and more importantly the fans who have supported us all season proud. As a team we stick together through the highs and the lows, so we need to go out there on Friday and bring that trophy home.”
Those were the determined words of Arsenal Ladies defender Gilly Flaherty ahead of the Continental Cup final on Friday.
The Gunners take on Lincoln Ladies at The Hive in the season finale and will be looking to put the disappointment of missing out on the Women’s Super League behind them. If Shelley Kerr’s side do prevail on Friday they will retain the trophy for the second year running and that’s something that Flaherty is desperate to achieve.
"We've been working on our shape and working on our movement off the ball which will be very important on Friday"
“We're really looking forward to it,” she told Arsenal.com. “The whole squad were disappointed to finish third in the WSL and we know that on Friday, to keep up our own standards, we need to put a good performance in and try and retain the cup.”
Lincoln are the only team Arsenal have failed to beat this campaign after being held to three frustrating draws by Rick Passmoor’s team but Flaherty insisted the team will be more clinical when the chances come on Friday.
“We know how solid Lincoln are and what their game plan will be. It's crucial that we take our chances when they come on because in previous games against them we haven't done so and we’ve ended up with disappointing results against them.
“We've been working on our shape and working on our movement off the ball which will be very important on Friday.
“It's vital we go into this final and the upcoming Champions League games full of confidence and I think the win on Sunday against Everton helped us."
Despite finishing third in the league, Arsenal have been in imperious form since returning from the summer break and remain unbeaten since that shock defeat to Liverpool at Emirates Stadium in May.
Flaherty and the rest of the back five’s form has been the principal factor behind this unbeaten streak and the 22-year-old puts their run down to an increased level of communication both on and off the pitch.
“We've been working really hard in training and we're talking more to each other off the pitch with regards to what we've been finding hard.
“All the defenders have all drummed the mentality into ourselves that we don't even want teams to have shots against us. People who come to our games will be able to hear the likes of myself and Ciara Grant shouting 'no shots'.
“We've all been playing tight as a unit and battling together as a team. The defending starts from the strikers though and they've been doing a good job to help us out.
“We know we’ve got to stay patient on and, if we do, I’m sure we’ll be lifting the trophy come 10pm on Friday.”*Please note that tickets for the game are priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions.
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