Press conference

‘I’ll miss this, this ground, being in the WSL’

Joe Montemurro

Sunday was an emotional day for Joe Montemurro as he took charge of his final Women’s Super League fixture.

Our head coach boasts an outstanding record in the competition, winning 53 of his 70 games and seeing his side score 200 goals along the way. But back in March he made the difficult decision to step down and now there’s just one FA Cup match remaining.

Montemurro faced the media after our goalless draw with Aston Villa on Sunday - and here’s what he had to say:

on Villa marking player for player…
It wasn’t a surprise, no. We expected lots of players around the ball and no room to move and Villa did that really well today and the game went the way it did. A draw was a fair result.

on his message at half-time…
We had to stay patient because there was no space between the lines, our build-up was probably taking longer than we wanted and there was no room over the top or in behind. We changed the system at half-time, I lowered some players to see if we could draw their middle line out but we couldn’t get or rhythm and didn’t find a way through.

on bringing Steph Catley on at half time and switching to a back three…
We thought with a back three we could build up a tad lower and pull out their middle three but we just couldn’t find any solutions.

on whether the fact that Villa needed a result and Arsenal didn’t had a bearing….
Yeah I think so, there was a real objective for Villa, we wanted to finish the season off on a high but it showed and it took its toll in the game. Congratulations to Aston Villa on staying up.

on Joe’s emotions managing his final WSL game…
When you’re in the midst of it you don’t really have a chance to think about it, we had an objective in the last few weeks to qualify for the Champions League and we did it well. It is a little bit sad, I will miss this, I will miss this ground and I will miss being part of the WSL.

on his players this season…
They have been brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of them. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs together, more ups, I hope we’ve all learned along the any and become better people for this journey we’ve been on together.

on a frustrating afternoon…
Frustrating is probably a good word, we’re a bit slow in executing today and then the frustrations kick in and then we started forcing things and then they don’t happen for you. That’s unlike us, we’re usually emotionally switched on but today we lacked there a little bit. From Villa’s perspective they wanted to make sure they didn’t concede early and need to chase the game, they needed a point and the longer that went on, the better it was for them and we couldn’t find the solutions.

on not challenging for the title this season...
I think we recruited well this year and had a very solid squad, we lost Steph Catley, Jen Beattie and Viki Schnaderbeck for a long time and these things can add up. But we can’t look for excuses, at times this season we were fantastic and at times it didn’t work. That’s football and you have to take the good with the bad, but we always went out and tried to play our brand of football and give ourselves a chance of winning every game.

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