Montemurro on defeat, mistakes, Maritz

Joe Montemurro

Joe Montemurro was left with mixed emotions following our 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

On the one hand, he was frustrated with the result and elements of our performance, but on the other, bursting with pride from his players’ dedication, commitment and attitude.

We spoke to our head coach after the final whistle and this is what he said:

on his overriding emotions at the final whistle…
Mixed feelings. There’s a lot of disappointment and different emotions going through me right now. You always think about what you could’ve, should’ve or would’ve done in hindsight, and I’ll obviously be questioned for my selections and changes in the game, that’s what happens to coaches. We have to be realistic and understand that these teams are very strong and they invest heavily in powerful players. For us to be better we have to compete and not make the mistakes we made tonight.

on being punished for a sloppy start…
I think we were unable to press because the game became quite long and they were developing from deep. I think the biggest problem is that they were lowering their No 9 to overloaded the midfield and then they were suddenly going beyond our defensive areas out wide. We fixed that up, but to be honest, I don’t think tactically we got it too wrong. It was just phases and situations of the game where they gained momentum, we gained momentum and then they had a big period in the second half where we backed off a little bit. Was it physical or not? I’m not sure. The early change for Jen Beattie threw out the game plan because it was a change lost and we then had to reassess how we made our changes.

on our threat in transition and why we had to adopt a different gameplay to usual…
We knew we couldn’t construct from the back as we normally do because they press with threes and and fours. Normally we play through midfield and expose teams, so we had to bypass that first line. We studied that and we actually did it with a lot of success. When we did bypass them and had players facing forwards, we exposed them, but I think our issue is that we didn’t do it with better preparation. Sometimes we did it too early and that allowed them to recover the ball quickly when we maybe needed to keep the ball a little lower in our half, drag them out and then go. Once we got tired it became very, very difficult for us to prepare that play.

on Noelle’s promising debut performance and the fact she was playing competitive football only five weeks ago…
She was in a cup final against Bayern Munich recently and she played a top game for us. She played seven or eight competitive games before this game and it obviously made a difference. I don’t want to use it as an excuse because it is what it is and we had to make the best of the situation. Are we short three or four weeks of pre-season? Of course we are. Are we short of three of four competitive games? Again, of course we are. That’s the reality of the situation and we can’t pretend that isn’t a major contributing factor. We made some errors and maybe the errors came became we were tired.

on PSG’s power and why we were unable to progress up the pitch late on…
They started to send numbers forward and then the distances between our back four and our midfield became too long. Every time they played forward, they played forward into spaces and they were able to receive the second ball and at that point we started to back off a little bit. I’d have loved to have had more of the ball to allow them to come to us a bit more.

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