Arsenal Women

Press conference

Every word: Montemurro on Everton, Little, Europe


Joe Montemurro was a happy man at the final whistle on Sunday as we secured a vital win in the race for Women’s Champions League qualification with a 2-1 victory over Everton.

With a three-point lead over Manchester United and a vastly superior goal difference, it would now take a miracle for the Red Devils to catch us in third place.

Montemurro spoke to the media after the game - and here’s what he had to say:

on his nerves…
The pressure was on today and it was a different kind of pressure, but we knew that we had to get a result today and then we can bring it home next week. I was probably a little bit disappointed more than anything because we did everything right today. We didn’t set up properly for one silly little cross and throw in, and that’s disappointing, but the job is done and the character of the girls shone through.

on Everton starting with five at the back…
It did (surprise me). We thought that they’d be a 4-1-4-1 in the defensive phase and then push three forward, but it really surprised me because they dropped right off and we effectively had to score through a third man run through Katie McCabe from deep. But I think we were very, very good in the first half and in the second half we took a little bit of time to adjust with Kim Little popping up between and then we started dominating again, but as I keep on saying, it’s all well and good creating chances, but you need to finalise the game.

on how he used Kim Little and Lia Walti to exploit Everton…
Basically, I just wanted Kim to drop a little bit lower in build up to pull out one of their block of four, which would then allow one of our 10s, 9s or wingers to enter the space that she’d emptied. We got through a few times and in the end it was just a matter of finalising the action. We just thought we’d make it exciting for guys and score right at the end!

on Kim Little’s penalty…
There’s so many words to describe how brilliant Kim is and how fantastic she is for the group, as a player and in pressure moments too. That’s why she’s a world-class player, she handles these pressure moments.

on whether we stepped off or Everton stepped up in the second half…
Everton were reducing spaces a lot better and we probably weren’t quick enough in terms of changing our point of attack. They went for about 10 or 15 minutes, but then they dropped off and I think we started to reengage and be a bit more positive. But yes, I think it was Everton, they were definitely a little more brave in reducing those spaces and coming at us.


'Katie's developed into a world-class player'

Joe Montemurro could not hold Katie McCabe in any higher regard.

Our No 15 agreed a new long-term deal this week, having flourished under the Australian's coaching.

We caught up with Montemurro after McCabe signed the dotted line. This is what he had to say:

on how pleased he is to keep Katie...
Katie McCabe is probably one of the highlights of the last three or four years here. It's been a project which has been an exciting one. She's been thrown every challenge from the day we brought her back on loan and she's developed into a world-class, left-sided player. All credit to her, she personifies exactly what we want from our squad. 

on her importance growing...
She's relished the leadership roles, she's relished the challenge of becoming a better player and she's the perfect example of making sure that you achieve whatever you want to achieve. I still think there's a lot more to come. 

on this being her best season...
She's up there in the assist stats in the league. I think that doesn't just personify Katie's importance but also the contribution she's made to the team in the way we want to play, and she's relished taking on all the challenges we've thrown at her, in terms of positional play, attacking more in numbers. All credit to her because there's still a lot more to come. 

on her being a passionate player...
The pictures that come to mind straight away are when we won the league and Katie was just going crazy in the changing rooms. I think she was the first one to get the champagne bottles! It's her great character and I don't want her to ever change. I want her to always relish the great moments, always enjoying them and always pushing herself to be better. She's just great to have around every day.

on how much better she can be...
It's really up to her. I think she's found a really good spot at Arsenal, a really good position in terms of just being able to play her game. But I also think that there's a massive amount of belief in her to get better and she knows that. She believes in everything we're doing and I just hope she takes on more challenges. The exciting thing for me is that she's not just locked in as a full back. She can play centrally, out side or in three or four different positions. She personifies the modern footballer.


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