Press conference

Every word from Eidevall's pre-Man United presser

As we prepare to welcome over 35,000 supporters to Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Jonas Eidevall sat down with the media to discuss our next test against Manchester United.

The boss fielded questions regarding team news, United's impressive start to the season, and the importance of versatility in our squad.

Here's every word of Eidevall's press conference:

on Beth Mead and Manuela Zinsberger leaving international duty early...

They're available for selection tomorrow

on what it means to have Vivianne Miedema back in the side...

Of course, it's very good. We need every player in the squad to be ready. We have tough opponents and tough games ahead of us, so that is very helpful for us.

on Lina Hurtig, Jordan Nobbs, and Lotte Wubben-Moy's availability...

Lina will not be available - that injury will be a little bit longer. The other players should be available for selection.

on whether Lotte is still touch-and-go for tomorrow...

She's available for selection. I think that's the thing when the games come around quickly: sometimes one game would just come one day too early for you. That means you make a sensible decision that's the right one that day, but if the game had been played on Wednesday, maybe would have been able to play. So she's available.

on how far away Leah Williamson is from making a full recovery...

She's closer than she was before. I think she's progressing really well. I think it's realistic in the block of games that we are in, that both Leah and Rafa will return here to the team. In terms of what exact opponent, we'll have to wait.

Leah Williamson in training

on what playing at Emirates Stadium does for our team...

I think it's one of our two homes. And from the time I've been here, we feel more and more that this is our home. We feel more and more that it's on a platform, where we're able to share our love for Arsenal with so many more people than just ourselves in the team. To share that and to see how much energy that creates, and that bond between the team and the supporters, I think it's beautiful. And the Emirates just gives us much more opportunity to do so.

on what it means to play in front of so many supporters...

It's a very tough opponent. Manchester United have had a great start to the season. I'm so pleased that we can, again, sell such a high number of tickets when we go to Emirates and have these high standards. It was a beautiful experience at the North London Derby and, together with our fans, we want to try and create the same thing tomorrow.

on the threat of Manchester United...

Man United are a very strong team. It will be a tough game. We obviously now have a quick turnaround from the international period. For us, it's about playing one game at a time, controlling what we can control, and making the most of our performance. If we do, we're confident that we can deliver good results. 

on striking a balance between acknowledging United's threat from set pieces and creating anxiety around it...

It's a good question. I think when I present any opponent, I spend more time speaking about their weaknesses than I speak about their strengths. Then, of course, when we speak about their strengths, it's all about how we are dealing with those situations, because then I don't think it creates anxiety. I think you can be focused on what you are doing.

It becomes problematic when you speak to the team about a situation where the opponent is strong, but you don't provide a solution. Of course, that's going to be stressful. So we know United are strong on set pieces, and we know they are a very good crossing team as well. But for us, it's much more about focusing on what our organisation looks like on set pieces, what we need to do, how we defend crosses, and how we stop crosses from happening.

on what he's seen change the most for United this season...

Where Man United went a little bit behind last season was basically in autumn. I think they were a really, really strong team in the spring in the league, and they've added some players that made their squad a little bit deeper, and they have kept a lot of continuity in the way that they play. So those things are usually equal to having success. So it doesn't surprise me.

on whether he sees this as a vital three points in the title race...

It's important for us that we play as well as possible. That we play in the best possible way to try and win the game. That's important for every game. I know it's a boring answer, but I'm not trying to view it in any other way. We want to play as well as possible here on Saturday, and that's what's important for us. 

on seeing Nikita Parris play for our opposition... 

It was a very straightforward conversation because Keets, as a person, was brilliant having in and around the team. I think she's honest, she's straightforward, she's hard-working, and she really puts the team first. So she's one of those players that you wish every bit of success.

In her situation, it just turned out that I choose to play with other players before her. I still value her very much both as a person and a player. When her wish was to go and play in another environment, which would allow her to get more playing time, we didn't want to stop her from doing that. Because she gave everything to us when she was here and if that was her wish, I respected that.

on Stina Blackstenius' impact on our team since the last game against United...

It was a difficult game for us because we also went down to 10 players and then we equalised. It was a really important message for us as a team that we could handle an adverse situation.

I think Stina's settled in great. When you get a new player, of course, it's not going to be perfect from day one. You need to fit into the culture, you need to create new connections and build new relationships. And I think that's what she's doing. We see more and more how we can use her strengths and how she can exploit the team's weaknesses.

Stina Blackstenius scores against Brighton

on what Stina brings to our side that we didn't have previously...

Stina is a very good player running off the ball - I would say that's one of her strengths. I think when you see her play, the reason for her being successful is that she has many more dimensions. She's continuously developing, so that's very pleasing 

on the importance of versatility within our squad...

It's important when we are looking at squad depth, from not only a numbers perspective, to see how many different situations we can deal with because that allows us to have more consistency in our starting XI.

If we have versatile players, this means that when we move them to different positions, they're going to bring something else. So we don't need necessarily to change the formation in order to change the way we play. So that can also be helpful if Plan A is not working.

on Kim Little's progress with injury...

She's doing very much like you would suppose Kim Little is doing. She's 110% in everything she does. And we don't have a different update in terms of timescale at the moment. But things are progressing and she's working really hard. So I hope she can return in the not-so-distant future.

on Emma Hayes' return to the touchline for Chelsea...

It's always good news. I think it's really important for the people that you see in the game that their health is good. I wish that for everyone. I haven't spoken directly to Emma, but if she is able to return, her health is probably better than it has been before, so that makes me really happy. 

on diversity within England's Lionesses squad...

I think it is obvious that football has a lot of work to do to make it more accessible to more people and that will result in better inclusion at the top of the pyramid, which would be the national team.

on Mead's comments in the Guardian...

I haven't read the newspaper article. I don't know the context either. I know Beth is a very warm, intelligent person and she has great ideas about how to grow the game. I don't know what was said. But I know that her heart is in the right place and she will do good things for England going forward.

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