Press conference

Every word from Eidevall's Ajax presser

Jonas Eidevall

Our fate in the UEFA Women’s Champions League will be decided on Wednesday night as we face Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena. 

Jonas Eidevall’s side were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw at Meadow Park last week, despite twice taking the lead, meaning only a victory will secure our place in the group stage of the competition. 

Our head coach discussed all of the key talking points as he faced the media on Tuesday night - and you can read a full transcript below. 

on solutions for Ajax’s high press…

In general, you would say more passes can better connect the team. I think we were guilty in the first game against Ajax of not keeping hold of the ball well enough, we had too few passes, we lost the ball. You see statistically, if you take the number of passes that our forwards played forward in that game, it was very low if we compare it to the game against Brighton. And it's about us moving the ball better, to connect better.

Remember that Tottenham also man-marked Viv in the game, but the difference was that the connection with the players around Viv was much better, so they could start to use each other's movements. The nine and 10 could move off each other, the 10 and eight could move off each other. If you get too stretched as a team, you become isolated and sometimes you need to do more passes. Sometimes in those situations, you need to hold on to the ball just to protect it and not try to create. I think that is a long-term development for us, to do better in those situations.

on having two very different styles of centre-forward...

I have three various types of nines, to be honest. I have Stina, Caitlin and I have Viv, who can all play the number nine role and they will all do it differently. Especially with their off-the-ball movements. After the Tottenham game, we spoke about the differences between Noelle and Laura, for example, and I said we could have left fullbacks playing differently with Steph Catley and Katie McCabe.

You can see that in the left forward position: we can play Katie there, we can play Lina, we can play Caitlin Foord, we can play Beth Mead over there. All four of them will provide different options for us but they will all fit into the game model that we have. They will do the different roles and I think that’s a strength because then we can see what we need for the day or if we need to change anything. We can do that by keeping the same formation but changing the personnel.

on whether the team has connected with the men's set piece coach, Nicolas Jover...

No, we haven’t yet. But it's very much something that I think we as a club should find ways to improve that communication. It is very difficult with schedules and people who've been very busy in the roles. I needed to prioritise but of course you see the work that he has been doing with the men’s team on set pieces.

I mean arguably, you would say that he’s probably one of the brightest minds that you have in the game regarding set pieces and the track record that he has. So I think we, of course, would like to know his ideas and working methods and I think the rest of the world wants to do that as well because that is how good I think he is.

on whether we have a fully-fit squad for tomorrow's game...

Yes.

on how significant this game is, in terms of the club's ambitions...

Of course, we want to play in the group stage of the Champions League. We want to go as far as possible. This is the game we need to win in order to get there so of course, it's very important.

on whether playing the group games at the Emirates is an added incentive...

In Champions League, it's about playing against the best. It's about being challenged. Of course, it's so nice of the club that they want to play that the best stadium as well, the Emirates. So we will do our very best tomorrow in order to go through.

on whether he feels the financial pressures of not making it to the Champions League...

I just want to win the game. I don't spend much time thinking about other things and I don't think I should do either. I went into this game to prepare for us to get the best possibilities to win. I believe that we will win. I don't think about anything else.

on whether it's difficult to have such a quick turnaround between competitions and styles of opposition...

I think it's part of the challenge. Of course, when you get quick turnarounds between the games, the amount of information that you can give to the players is limited. So sometimes when things change, that means that you need to pay attention during the game as well to deal with those changes. So many details that come to mind if you're going to be successful with the preparation for every game.

But I think we're constantly learning things for that and we're developing as a team and if you experience situations together, and you learn from it, that's when you mature as a team. And that's what I strive for us to become: a mature team that can deal with a lot of different situations with a lot of scenarios. We need to experience it. I was not happy with the performance against Ajax, I was not happy with the result. But as an experience for us, there are things that we could learn. And every time we can learn, we can mature, we can become better and that's the process that we are in.

on whether Ajax will be more confident at home...

I thought they played with a lot of confidence when we played them last week, and I'm under no illusion that this game will be anything else. Like, it will be a hard game. We will need to be very good.

Away games in Europe are tough, especially when we're playing against a good team like Ajax. So, we will need to be good in all aspects of the game. We will need to defend well, we will need to attack well. We need to be good at set pieces and good in transition. So for us, it’s up to us to be the best that we possibly can be and if we can be that, I believe we can go through. But it's up to us to reach that level.

on whether Ajax will have an advantage by not playing at the weekend...

Yeah, I mean, obviously, their league is doing something that a lot of European leagues do. They try to get a playing schedule which will give their teams the best possible chance of qualifying for competitions. They want to give them more time between games.

That's obviously something that the FA don't do. For me, it's just a fact. It's just a fact, where we have to say that we were playing against Tottenham, let's make the best of that occasion. I thought we did brilliantly. I think we can take a lot of energy, a lot of positive momentum from that game. And let's build on it for the Ajax game.

They probably are going to look at it the other way and say ‘we get more time to train, we can be fresher with our legs going into the next game.’ That's their strategy and their football association’s strategy. We're just going to do the best with what we have. That's all that we can control and we need to focus

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