Interview

‘I can’t be any prouder of my players’

Joe Montemurro was a proud man at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Despite Vivianne Miedema struggling for fitness and having six players out injured, we managed to deliver an incredible team performance, taking a fully-fit City side to penalties with a 0-0 draw.

It was only then that Nick Cushing’s side were able to fire past Sari van Veenendaal, winning 4-2 on penalties. 

We spoke to Montemurro after the final whistle - and this is what he said:

on his thoughts at the final whistle…

The first is obviously disappointment. It’s never a nice way to lose a game. In truth, we worked hard with the resources that we’ve got and we played, and I probably shouldn’t be saying this, in a little bit of an un-Arsenal way. We had to, there was no other option - but today the team found the spine and showed heart and they’ve got to work for each other now. If they do, they won’t have this feeling anymore.

on whether we deserved to be leading at the break…
The chances were there. Obviously we were lower than we usually are defensively, we had to, but the chances were there and when we did secure the ball, we opened up some opportunities, so it could have been either way.

on his assessment of the second half performance…

I thought the first 10 minutes were very good. It was probably our best spell. We secured the ball, we started to find some patterns of play and we started to open up some very good areas, but then there was a 15 minute spell where they got on top and Nikita Parris hit the crossbar. But again, they were sort of half chances and they weren’t chances where we thought we’d been opened up. Sari’s one on one save with Parris was the game-changer.

on whether he watched the penalties…
I don’t watch penalties, I never have! Even when I was playing I would go and take my penalty and then walk away and turn my back. I don’t watch penalties and I have my reasons for it. It’s a cruel way to win and lose games for both teams, but unfortunately that’s included and it’s best I don’t watch them.

on the pride that he’s got for his team’s performance…
We’ve found an Arsenal team with a massive heart and belief. We’ve got a massive spine and backbone that is a good foundation because we can all play pretty football and all train and talk about football, but sometimes you need these elements to be part of where we’re going. I can’t be any prouder of my players, they were mammoth.