Name a player who has been in better form than our No 9 over the past 12 months – we’ll wait. Here Beth Mead reveals why, as memorable as the Euros were, she wants to put it behind her, and what makes this club special following last weekend's watershed moment.
I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think my standards in football have ever been higher than they are right now. Not only for myself and my own performances, but also for the team and reaching our objectives as a club.
After a frustrating 2020/21 individually, I got to work over that summer and set new standards in my performances over the course of the season, and I think any time I fall short of that level now I’m incredibly disappointed.
The Brighton & Hove Albion game is a perfect example of that. I scored two goals on the night and two years ago I probably would have been really happy with that, but I finished the game knowing that I could and should have scored more goals, and I also think it wasn’t our best performance from a team perspective either, despite winning 4-0. Those are the standards we have to set now if we really want to achieve our objectives this season, and that’s obviously lifting silverware. We won’t accept anything less.
In terms of where we play and how we play at the club, we have an incredible team here at Arsenal and there’s no excuse for us not to be setting our standards high. It should be in our DNA to have high standards and demands for each other and the way we play, and we simply can’t allow them to slip, even for a second, because that’s when you’re punished.
Winning the Euros was an incredible experience for me for so many reasons, but I think one of the best things it has given me is belief and confidence in my own game that I can carry over into life at Arsenal. Yes, the summer was amazing and it’s a memory that will stay with me forever but, honestly, right now I’m just so hungry and motivated to do the same at Arsenal.
You’ve always got to look forward in football and I know that mentality is shared among the entire team at the moment. We felt like we made some serious progress last season and probably deserved something for our efforts, but in the end we came away with nothing. That has made everyone even more determined to bring success to the club this season.
I also think it’s important that we enjoy the game. I’ve been feeling like a little kid again on the pitch recently and, throughout my career so far, whenever I’ve had that feeling I’ve always played my best football. I’m a strong believer that I play my best football when I’m happy and I’m really happy on the pitch at the moment. I feel free out there!
Going into last season and now this season, I’ve told myself to not overthink things and to never rest on my laurels. I just need to move on from each game, not let things drag me down and then focus on the next game – it really is as simple as that.
I just try not to overthink things, trust in my own ability and that’s when I’ve played my best football. That’s when I’m playing those difficult passes around the defence, skipping past defenders or finding the top corner! That might not be everyone’s winning formula because we’re all different, but I know what works for me and I’m at my best with a happy and relaxed mind.
That can be quite difficult to maintain at times because I can be very hard on myself. I have high expectations, but hearing nice comments from people like Sarina, Jonas and my teammates is something that really motivates me. I won’t hide away from it – I’m a player who feeds off confidence and there’s only so much of that you can give to yourself.
The fans are also a massive reason as to why I’ve been able to maintain that confidence in my game. It was amazing to have the entire country behind us at the Euros, but I felt that extra love from the Arsenal fans online and it honestly meant the world to me.
I love staying behind at Meadow Park to speak to the fans because I remember doing the same as a kid and I think it’s something so simple that means the world to them. We all saw during Covid that the game is nothing without the fans, so I try my best to make sure they know that every opportunity I get. It’s just a small way of me saying thank you really. Your support never goes unnoticed.
Obviously the Euros have played a massive part in this rise in attendances, but for me it also speaks volumes for the Arsenal family and how much you as supporters want to get behind us. Arsenal have a long-running history of being leaders in the women’s game and it’s amazing to see that same leading support is still there today.
I’ve always said that if we can make people aware of that fact and get bums on seats at Emirates Stadium, they’ll become emotionally invested and come back to support us, so I hope that we’ll put on a show for you today and see you again at Meadow Park and the Emirates soon. Have we got a deal? Good!
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