Jonas Eidevall signed a new long-term contract as head coach of our women's team on Wednesday, and has told Arsenal Media all about his thoughts and feelings on his time at the club so far as well as how ambitious he is for more success to come.
Read the interview in full below.
Jonas, congratulations on signing a new contract with the club. How excited are you to keep this journey going?
A lot. And I mean, that's the reason why I'm so happy to sign. I'm all in for this and all into making us successful for the future.
When you look at your time at the club so far, what achievements and areas of progress are you most proud of?
From a results perspective, I think that the Conti Cup trophy is one of the obvious ones, to reach a Champions League semi-final for the first time in a decade for the club. But then you also look at the small wins, the daily wins on how we change culture. And that's not only me that changes the culture, it's what I change together with others, together with other staff, together with the players. And I think what we have generated here in the last two seasons is a really strong culture on how we train, on how we behave, on how we live our values, that I think it's a much better and stronger foundation today than it was when I arrived.
You've spoken a lot about your pride at representing The Arsenal and how special some of the moments we've shared in the last two years have been. Can you sum up for us what Arsenal means to you?
Arsenal means a lot and it's so hard to put into words sometimes from an emotion that you feel. But for me, I always get the emotion of togetherness when you're at Arsenal. It's a one club mentality. It's the past and the present that meets together when you meet former players, when you meet former coaches, we can feel this unified bond. It's a togetherness between players, staff, and supporters, in good times and in bad times. So for me, stepping into Arsenal from the outside with all the emotions attached to the club, it's a togetherness and that constant feeling of togetherness and that we have each other's backs, and that we can lift each other to glory. That's what stands out.
So when you look back on last season with the spirit we showed against all adversity, how does it feel for you as a coach when you see the players standing up for each other and constantly finding another level to go to? Is that kind of exactly what you want this team to stand for?
I think it's what you want people to stand for in society as a general. We want to see people in groups of people when you come into adverse situations that you stick together, that you elevate each other. We want to see how far can you come when you share a common plan, a common idea where you live values together. And I think that's exactly what both players and staff did last season. It is our foundation here now that we need to elevate on for future successes.
And such an important part of that word togetherness that you've mentioned comes from our supporters, selling out Meadow Park pretty much every single week, the big games at Emirates Stadium, travelling in numbers on away days, how important has that backing been to you?
I mean, it is everything. It is what makes it even more special to work for this club because the support that they have, it's not only in the good times for us, they are here even when we're not playing good, they're pushing us on every single second on the field. That just brings that foundation of togetherness. I love our supporters and their role in making this club special is so big, and their role in pushing and having future success is going to be so big. It's going to be impossible for just us to do it on our own. We need to do it together with you guys, the supporters.
So at this stage, after two seasons with the club, when you think of the Arsenal that you want us to become on the pitch, both in the short term and in the long term, what does that vision look like?
I want it to be an Arsenal team which all supporters can be really proud of. And that comes to how we express ourselves both on and off the ball. And it's that constant quest when we're at Arsenal, where we try to play the perfect football match. The perfect football match in how we are positioned, how we are executing the game plan, both in offence and defence, how we are expressing ourselves on the ball for it, and I love that ambition and that search for that perfect game. But the more we search for that, the better our foundation is going to be and the closer we're going to come to that moment as well. And if I would have been thinking about this team as a finished product and saying 'I don't have any more ideas on how to develop this team, we're at our top', then that wouldn't have been the case for me to want to extend and to sign a new contract. We have more things to develop, we have more mountains to climb, a lot more. We're at a high level but we can reach even higher together as a team and that's what the future is all about.