Jonas Eidevall and his side experienced a rollercoaster of emotions during Saturday’s penalty shoot out defeat to Paris FC.
After fighting back from 2-0 down to take the game to extra time, we fell behind once more before Alessia Russo scored her second of the game in the 116th minute. We displayed determination, fight and belief until the very end, but it wasn’t enough to book our place in the next round of the competition as we lost 4-2 on penalties.
“There’s a lot of thoughts and feelings from this game,” said Eidevall in his post-match interview. “I think we could see in the first half that Paris were asking us some tactical questions in our build up that we had not seen Paris do before. We have not been really asked those questions before either because of our limited pre-season time.
“That took a little bit of time for us to figure out. Once we did that, I think things were looking quite good in the game. Goals change football matches, especially when you concede two in the lapse of two minutes. And that puts us in a really difficult situation. Our response to being in that situation, I think is brilliant.
"I think the morale, the belief that the players show is astonishing. And I think we do good tactical changes from the side so we create the situations that we want and we can fight our way back into the game. Then going into extra time, I think we start off managing that really well in the first 15 minutes. Again, we do a small error in our organisation, we concede a third goal and we have to chase again, successful again.
"What morale by the players to never give up. We have chances to win the game in the dying minutes of that extra time and then we go to a penalty shootout where I just feel for the players that are not successful for us tonight and to give them the support because this is unfortunately what elite sport is. You're not going to win all the time and sometimes we are going to be on the wrong side of taking a penalty for it."
It was a heartbreaking moment for the team after fighting so hard for a Champions League qualification spot last season, but now our head coach is keen to look ahead and focus on the positives.
"The important thing is don't let that define you. Let the other things define you in that game, what you take with you from this game and that we send a message that we support each other all the way," Eidevall added. "I want to say the same to our supporters. You guys have been brilliant for us all two seasons since I've been here.
"Now more than ever, the players need that support and do that because they give everything on the pitch. I think they're a little bit unlucky today that we don't get the result and they need the support so we can go strong into the season together."
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.