Press conference

Every word of Jonas' pre-Man City press conference

Our penultimate game of the WSL season arrives on Sunday when we head to the north-west to take on Manchester City, and ahead of the game Jonas Eidevall held his pre-match press conference.

He took his seat at the Sobha Realty Training Centre to tackle topics such as City's form this season, our ambitions going in the final couple of games, Michelle Agyemang's new contract and much more.

Here is everything he had to say:

on the latest team news:
One coming back is Sabrina D’Angelo. She will be back in the squad again which is a positive for us. Vivianne Miedema needed minor treatment on her knee, so she will be out unfortunately.

on whether Leah Williamson is fit for this weekend:
Yeah, she’s very much in the plans for it. We have two more training sessions, but it was just precautionary that we took her off at half-time against Everton.

on our mindset going into the remaining weeks of the season:
Our mindset this weekend is only to win. Let’s be honest, one point gives us absolutely nothing in regards to where we are in the league table. The only thing that can potentially give us something is to win, so that’s our aim and that’s what we’re going to do our very best to do.

on whether he’s been surprised by Manchester City’s form this season:
Yes and no. I think when you look at the underlying numbers last season, they were the team with the best expected goal difference in the whole league, but they finished fourth. This is a problem for people because they look at the points and draw all concoctions from there one, but when you look at the underlying numbers, you actually saw a team that had a really strong season who then has kept that exact same core while adding on some really good additions, for example Khiara Keating who has had a brilliant season for them. 

They’ve changed one detail which I think is often overlooked, which is their record on set pieces. They’ve really turned that around from last season to this season and I think that’s the big difference. You can see that they’ve had the foundation to have a season like this, so for me, it didn’t come as a surprise, but for others who only look at the points and the results, I can see how it could come as a bit of a surprise.

on whether he’s spoken to Gareth Taylor since our last fixture:

on the vast majority of football boots being designed for men:
Let’s try and zoom out and see why this might be the issue. I think if you start looking at all research, I think the majority of all research around the world globally for athletes is done with male athletes and that has been the norm when then trying to develop products that athletes use and that athletes need. This is a welcome change and hopefully it can lead to more research on female athletes which then in turn will lead to better-developed products that will suit female athletes and their needs much better. I think it’s an area that has been really poor, to be honest, over the last decade, but hopefully now there are signs that it will change.

on if Michelle Agyemang will play the last two games in the season:
We're looking into that with the registration. If it is possible to register, Michelle, of course we are going to try and do that. When it comes to her future, I think her last season, you can still see big, huge developments in her playing. But she's been also been plagued by a lot of smaller to medium injuries that have really affected her gametime at Watford. I think we need to have a real good look in saying, where do we provide an environment where she stays injury-free, and she's able to train and play a lot, but also doing that at the highest level possible because that's how good she is. There's no doubt that she will become a top, top, top striker in the future. We just need to find our very best way in order to make that journey into our first team. 

on big players with contracts coming up at the end of the season and whether any of those are near an announcement:
My answer to that is no comment, and that we will comment on that when we have something concrete to communicate. We don't at the moment, so just have to be patient. That might be before the game against Brighton, or it might not be. So, we'll have to wait and see. 

on Arsenal’s set-piece record this season and our effectiveness with them:
I think there are so many different factors, but one obvious one is the aerial ability of individual target players. I think there's no doubt that we have lost a lot of really good aerial players, if you see during almost the last 12 to 18 months from the squad. I think that impacts our performance on set-pieces. We still generate fairly good numbers, so then it's also the effectiveness of what we generate. That's the same as in open play, where self-confidence definitely plays a part in that. So, I think it's the combination of it, we're having 100 per cent belief in what we're doing, and really trying our best at every situation, but also in combination with having specialists. Both having the one that can serve in, but also the one that can attack and have the biggest aerial threats.

on how much of a difference Manchester City not having Champions League qualifiers made:
I think it's such a loser mentality that you see it as an advantage not being in Europe. I don't think that's how you can build a successful football club or a football team, the end goal needs to be successful both domestically and internationally. I think consistency is a really important success factor and they've been managing to have a consistent core of players playing together, and they've been able to keep the majority. They’re building some really strong relationships. 

I think when I see the season, and now others might see it differently, but you see our numbers this season are very strong. This is the season from our last three seasons where we have by far the strongest underlying numbers, we just haven't been effective, and that has hurt us from a results perspective. But if we look forward, I think it would be inevitable for us to not be successful if we keep on having the best underlying numbers. So that's where we need to keep our belief in what we're trying to achieve.

That's what I think City been doing very, very well. At times where they didn't get the results that they wanted. So, for example, last season, I think that was disappointing for them to finish fourth. They still kept the belief in the majority of the players, they kept the belief in the coach, and I think that was the right decision for them because everything underlying showed that they were on the right path. That I think is giving them success this season. 

on reflecting on this season and the similarities with last season:
I think it’s a very different season to last season, because last season we were off to a good start but we went into an injury crisis that we needed to manage throughout the season. This season, we got off to a slow start and then we have managed the volatility the other way, with having returning players from long-term injuries almost at all stages of the season. Our underlying numbers are much stronger this season but we just haven’t been effective with our chances in both directions, so I see us developing, I see progression. 

I think next season we should be in a very, very strong situation to compete given that we also have a strong transfer window. So I can see that. While people might see that we’re standing still because we might be finishing in the same position in the league. I see a big difference in the story but also with underlying numbers with our performance.

on preparations for next season starting already:
Yes, of course. That’s what we need to do and sometimes it’s external decisions to potentially bring players in, but it also might be the way we work with existing players that we have.

on whether Man City have played the best football this season:
They’ve been by far the most effective team, to score much more than they create on expected goals and to concede way less than they should with expected goals. They’re by far the most efficient team in the league and that’s very good to be if you want to have results. In that perspective, yes they’ve been the best.

on Bunny Shaw's absence:
It changes the way they play. It’s their main attacking threat. When she’s playing, it’s to cross the ball to her and they’ve been very effective with that. They still cross the ball a lot but they cross the ball in different ways when she’s not playing, so it changes the way they play, but they are first and foremost a very good football team and they’ve shown in the season that they can function with her and they can function without her.

on Agyemang’s key qualities:
She’s so humble, she's so hard working. She has a lovely personality and she's definitely prepared to do the work that is needed to get success at the very top.

on Man City having to get used to being without Shaw:
I don't think like that. I always think it's going to be a very different game between us and City than City and Bristol was. We’re prepared for for a very good Manchester City side and if I've been informed correctly, I don't think Arsenal Women have ever been able to win at Manchester City Academy Stadium so we're going up there and doing our very best to change that piece of history.

on the difference between finishing second and third:
Every position matters in the league. If we could finish second that's better than finishing third so that's why I think it's so important to keep our focus on our game and play them game by game. First and foremost we have a really difficult task in front of us and trying to win away against Manchester City that we haven't been able to do before. If we can do that then we just need to put our focus on Brighton and then we have to see what Chelsea does and see where we end up in the league.

on if he’s disappointed we’re not in contention for the title:
Of course, I think that's the position you need to put yourself in. If you haven't already won the title, at least every game should be deciding the title so you're in contention. That's the starting point if you want to win something but when I also deal with disappointments I don't dwell on it, you have to accept it. Of course it's disappointing but it's now about what we do in this situation to make the best of it, both for this season and for next season. There are loads of things that are within our control and we need to change. We can do that with planning and with preparation and by taking the right decisions here now, so that's where our focus is now. So yes, I’m disappointed but it’s not something that I dwell on. We need to look forward.

on the belief we could gain from winning at Man City:
I think this season we’ve shown against the best teams in the country that we're capable of producing both performances and results that can give us what we want. We’ve also seen that we haven't had the consistency as a team to be able to deliver those performances and results during the whole season, and with all respect to the last two games of the season, that part is not going to change. What it can do is to say we can show that we are developing and maturing and progressing as a team and we should use these weeks here in the best way possible to do it. The big conclusions from the season and what we’ve seen from the team, I think we can already make.

on doing Chelsea a favour in the title race this weekend:
It doesn't matter to me, all that matters to me is that Arsenal performs really well and makes the best result possible. As I said after the Everton game, I always think that everyone has an obligation to the league and to the fairness of the competition to do your very best in every game that matters in the league and we intend to do so, but not for anyone else - for us.

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