Press conference

Eidevall confident ahead of the North London derby

Jonas Eidevall believes our team will bounce back from our first-leg loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Women's Champions League as we take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.  

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the boss noted that we would not be underestimating our local rivals going into the tie. Following their best-ever WSL season last year, Spurs have now found themselves ninth in the table after a string of losses. 

"I've seen a Tottenham side that’s been a little bit unlucky," he said. "They've been working really hard. I think they have a quality team of players that we have a lot of respect for, so I expect an opponent that will make life very hard for us on Saturday. We need to be on top of our game in order to win."

The dismissal of manager Rehanne Skinner earlier this month saw their assistant coach Vicky Jepson take the reins. Jepson led Tottenham to their first win since October against Leicester City in her first game in charge, and she remains somewhat of an unknown quantity to opponents. 

"Vicky had very little time before the Leicester game to prepare the team and now she has had more than a week to do so. I would expect that if there are going to be any changes she would like to try and implement, this is probably the game that they're going to use. I think how they play tomorrow is going to be the first real sign of how Tottenham will look under her.

"When we are playing this tight playing schedule, we need to put our main focus on ourselves and our own performance. We need to take details from the opponent of course, but we need to understand this game. We need to have a flexible mindset and we need to be content with knowing that we can't really know what they're going to do tomorrow on the pitch. We just need to be confident that we have a way that we can deal with whatever they do."

Our Gunners have yet to lose to Spurs in the Women's Super League but our away fixture last season ended in a 1-1 draw. However, Eidevall has had plenty of time to reflect on the draw, which took place early in his tenure as manager.

"You learn from every game. We’ve seen some things that they’re really good at, like how they stretch the opposition’s organisation with the way they build up. We need to be really good at controlling those spaces. We need to be humble in our position so we can work forward as much as possible in the game.

"It’s about getting all those details right in [what is] a hectic period for us. There are no shortcuts. We need to do all the preparation right in order to be able to execute our game on a pitch that is not going to be perfect and against an opponent who will definitely try to make life as difficult as possible for us."

Tottenham's squad has evolved since we put four past them at Emirates Stadium at the start of the season, with one key difference being the addition of Beth England, who has scored four goals in five matches. 

"With all due respect to Beth England, we’ve played against a lot of good No 9s recently, with Bunny Shaw, Sam Kerr and Lea Schuller. We know it’s not only about one player. It’s about how the whole team defends but also how the whole team attacks.

"We need to treat the whole Tottenham team as a threat. We need to be humble, we need to do our very best tomorrow in order to give us the best chance to win."

As title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City meet one another this weekend, victory against Spurs could see us shoot up to second in the WSL table. For Eidevall, the title race is far from over. 

"We go for every game and try to do our very best to try to win every game. That's our focus for the rest of the season."

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