Jonas Eidevall spoke to the media after we hit six past Leicester City to go second in the Women's Super League.
Our head coach was asked about what inspired our relentless second-half comeback, Victoria Pelova and Kyra Cooney-Cross' midfield displays, and our six different goalscorers.
Read every word from Jonas below.
on what changed in the second half...
We changed very little from the game plan and the structure we were playing. You are playing on a knife’s edge when you play Leicester. The one-v-one situations are created up top and if you protect the ball and turn with it, like in the first goal when Caitlin Foord turns and manages that situation and switches the ball to Cloe Lacasse, we score and everything opens up.
If you turn the situation over, they leave a lot of players forward and they will punish you. That is what we spoke about at half-time: if a team chooses to ID mark us, it’s going to be one-v-one situations and we can’t change that because we have the same number of players. What we can change is to see how much space we have in the one-on-one situation and where we want the space to be.
Ultimately, we need to be able to handle those situations and if they are better than us, we have to accept that. But it wasn’t good enough in the first half, I think we would all agree with that. We kept the same structure and the same context but with better execution. It helps getting goals and energy but I think some of the attacking football we played in the second half was great to watch.
It was a great representation of the way Arsenal play football. The midfield with Pelova and Cooney-Cross were phenomenal today, running the play and being brave on the ball. We had a lot of speed and creativity in our forward four. We probably had just as many opportunities that we didn’t score as we did, which is very impressive away from home.
on the energy levels throughout the game...
It’s what happens when you start winning your one-on-one duels - that was our way into the game today. When we started doing that, we started being more successful. It gave us confidence and made players think, "Give me the ball again." We turned that situation from shying away in the first half to dealing with it much better in the second half. We swang momentum which was very nice.
on Kyra Cooney-Cross' display and her development...
It is about what you do with the time. Nobody is really waiting for the chance, you work really hard for it. That is what being a professional footballer is about so you’re ready when the opportunity arises but it’s also the hard part because it is easy to not apply yourself well in training.
Kyra has been great. She has had illnesses and small injuries that have disrupted her rhythm a little bit. Nobody external knows about that but it takes a little bit more time and she has had to settle. So even if she has made those matchday squads, the journey to those matchday squads might not have been ideal.
It is great to see her playing well now and it is also great to see Victoria Pelova play 90 minutes in central midfield. These kinds of games are perfect for her where she gets into a lot of one-on-one situations because she is so good with her movements and being able to get past her opponent.
on our six different goalscorers...
When you see the players coming on, Stina, Lina, Beth, and how involved they are in creating goal-scoring opportunities, that is something I hope we can use during the season. We have starters and finishers in our forward setup because we want to have a lot of energy while we are playing. Sometimes that means fresh legs.
on the midfield competition…
It was because of injuries today but given how well they played in midfield today it was a good choice. We had Kim, Wally, Jen, Codina and then Viv was not feeling perfect in the warm-up, so we had five players out that we couldn’t field today. It was really strong of us to miss those five players and have this strong a performance.
on what was said at half-time...
We kept the structure but we challenged the application on what we needed to do. We did what we usually do: we looked at the clips and saw where the spaces were. Sometimes you get a different experience, both as a coach and as a player. You might perceive that there is not a lot of space and you might need to see that, no, there is a lot of space and we spoke about it.
But it wasn’t a Hollywood-style team talk, I don’t believe in that anymore. You can’t only have those motivational speeches, you need to be task-oriented.
on Leicester City...
They are a brave football team with a clear identity. They stick to their guns and play their way and I always respect that. That helps with recruiting players and developing players and teams over time. They play differently from many other teams in the league.
I always think that is a good thing when you choose your game model because you expose other teams to something they are not exposed to on a regular basis. It is a clever way of doing that and it fits their players well.
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