Press conference

Eidevall on the draw, Little, Leah and more

Jonas Eidevall

We secured an important point in the race for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

Khadija Shaw opened the scoring for the hosts, before substitute Tobin Heath came to the rescue deep into stoppage time, firing home from inside the area.

Eidevall faced the media after the game - and this is what he had to say:

on the performance and deserving a late point…
Yes I agree, I’m so happy that we got a result out of it because I think it always helps belief around the group in the process when you can back up the performance with a result.

on dropping Kim Little a little deeper in the last two games…
The sole reason was to improve the structure and it’s tough to take those decisions because you miss Kim a little higher up. But I think it’s been needed especially with the way we build up to provide that structure playing out from the back. Part of that process has been to move Kim back, especially because Lia Walti has been unavailable.

on Leah Williamson coming off at half time for Rafaelle…
Leah isn’t injured, we knew before that she couldn’t play for 90 minutes, we have to check with every player and she started to get tired so we decided to sub her. I am very, very impressed by Rafaelle’s debut, that was such a tough time to come on and the way she moved the ball and the way she worked in defence. As a central defender, it’s so relationship based the training time she has had has been so limited, I am very, very impressed by her performance and I told her that at full-time.

on when Leah Williamson might be able to complete 90 minutes…
Not long, she played 30 minutes on Wednesday and 45 minutes today, which is a quick turnaround. We didn’t expect her to return this early, so that’s really well done from her and the medical staff. Soon, I hope.

on Rafaelle being a left-footed option at centre-half…
When you look at the game at the highest level, you are looking for margins and I think it helps a lot to have a natural left foot in build-up, especially when you are playing out against high pressure. That’s why we went out and got her, we have a lot of centre-halves from a numbers perspective but none of them are left footed.

on Tobin Heath’s contribution from the bench…
It was great to have Tobin back, it was a bit difficult building into the United and City games, we have a lot of players available to play but have not had a lot of time to train together and we have some players who can’t quite do 90 minutes. To bridge that gap has been difficult but we have done that well enough.

on Arsenal’s record in big games improving this season..
Before the season started we said a major thing we wanted to improve was the way we play in big games in the league against Chelsea and City. That was clearly one of the areas where Arsenal struggled in previous seasons. We have played Chelsea and City at home and won and now we have drawn away at City. What Arsenal had problems with last season was that they didn’t have the structure to play out against high pressing teams so they didn’t see enough of the ball in those games. Today we had good spells on the ball, City did too, but we weren’t just defending, we created with the ball and forced them to be deep in their half and that we have that perspective when we see the performances.

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