Press conference

Every word of Eidevall pre-Zurich presser

Jonas Eidevall at the pre-Zurich press conference

Jonas Eidevall held his press conference ahead of our final Women's Champions League group stage game and final match of 2022.

Our head coach fielded questions from the media on a variety of topics, including Vivianne Miedema's ACL injury, the newly-announced Club World Cup, and how important it is to finish top of our group. 

Here's everything he had to say:

on what kind of challenge he is expecting from Zurich…

Their results maybe tell another story than their performances. I think we’ve seen, both against Lyon and Juventus, that they’ve created some really, really good opportunities in those games. They’re a tactically flexible team – they can play with two forwards or they can play with one forward. A lot of the time, that changes between which phase they’re in. It’s an opponent we have a lot of respect for, especially here at their home ground – the artificial turf. We need to make a strong performance in order to get the result we want.

on whether Viv’s injury has altered our transfer plans and on links to Victoria Pelova…

Maybe I'll say no comment to everything – it would be boring, right! I'll start with the second part of your question – no comment. With the first part of your question – does Viv’s injury alter [things]? A little bit, it does. It increases the need for us to be more active in the January transfer window – of course it does. I hope we can be active, but it’s about finding the right players.

We have to take into consideration that we played 16 games before Christmas, and if we succeed in all the competitions, we can end up playing 26 matches from January to May, so of course, you need to have a squad that can handle paying 26 matches in a pretty limited amount of time. So it’s an important transfer window for us.

on how Viv is after getting injured...

I think a serious injury is always very hard on any player. Of course it is. The important thing is to give the player every support she needs – both mentally and physically – so that she can feel that she’s in the best hands in order to recover and return back to the pitch again as strong as possible. That’s our main focus with Viv and with our other injured players.

on whether we’ll look at short-term targets or bring planned transfer business forward in the light of injuries in the squad…

Yeah, it’s a good question. I think when you’re looking at things in the shorter term, you have to also see who is available and the timing of that. Sometimes I have to adapt my ideas as well, but of course, whenever we can have a long-term target and we feel that that’s someone who can contribute to many seasons for Arsenal, that’s a priority. But the most important thing is that we have a really competitive squad here in January so that we can go and we can compete in all the competitions that we’re taking part in.

on whether the addition of a Club World Cup places too much of a burden on players…

Yeah, I’ve said before with the playing schedule: I think we have to be very smart with the way that we grow the women’s game and the calendar, with both increasing games and increasing the intensity of the games. I think some of these things won’t be a quick fix because it’s scheduling, so when we are playing international club football or national team football, that’s obviously decided many years in advance. Here we can be able to take experience so hopefully next time we decide on a schedule, we can adapt.

Then there are the quick fixes. I’m not going to let this narrative be spoiled just by a result that Viv got injured, but the way that the Netherlands have managed their players in this period, I think that has been formidable. They are really trying to get a player-first approach, and we try to cooperate with them at the club level as well. I think that’s what we need to bring our attention to as coaches at the moment: to say we can’t change the schedule now, but we can improve and increase our communication. And we have to understand that all of us have to give. There is no way that we can take decisions that are only looking at our own interests. Both parties have to give in order for the players to be as good as possible.

on whether player calls to address the schedule are not being heard…

I think the problem is the scheduling. I don’t think it’s solved with 23 or 26 players in the squad, because I think the problem is when you have so many tournaments in a row, the players don’t get any time off. Why don’t they get any time off? Because you see the scheduling: we finish playing at the end of May, you have a competition that’s in July, or maybe even in August now with the World Cup. What do the national teams do during the summer? They say 'OK, we need to prepare for the tournament, so we bring the players in after they have two weeks’ vacation and we start having camps that are not on FIFA dates.'

The players are there with the national team for six weeks leading up to a tournament, then after the tournament, club football needs to be played straight away. You all saw how quickly Manchester City had to play competitive games after the Euros, against Real Madrid in the Champions League qualifiers. The players don’t get any time off. Either the players need time off before the tournaments, or you could just schedule the tournaments earlier in the summer and then you would allow for a gap after. I can’t really see that it’s that hard, but that’s the solution in the end.

When you look at a 12-month period, you need to give the players a certain time of time off. It’s a human need – you need to have holidays in order to recharge and refresh. That’s what the scheduling needs to look at. So you can guarantee the players will get that time off – and then I think we will be fine.

on how important it is to try and finish top of the group…

Very. Very important.

on how important it is to get ourselves in the best possible position for the quarter-finals…

That’s why it’s important that we finish number one in the group. There are a lot of things that are important. I think Leah said it well: you are in a competition, you want to have as many advantages as possible in that competition when you reach the quarter-final stage. There are going to be eight brilliant teams there, but of course, we want to go there as number one if that’s possible.

It’s also important to not come to the quarter-finals with too many yellow cards – we experienced that against Wolfsburg last season. It was really difficult for us, coming in to play those games there with so many players getting close to suspensions. We have managed that part much, much better. We’ve had much better discipline, both players but also me – remember, no yellow cards this season! So not only have players improved, but also me. It’s important that continues tomorrow, so first we need to win; second, we need to try and keep where we are at with our yellow cards; and then we’ll be heading to the quarter-finals in very good conditions.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info