Arsenal Ladies player-coach Kelly Smith spoke to Arsenal.com after the Gunners secured a place in the Continental Cup final by beating Notts County 2-0 after extra-time.
Read a transcript of what she had to say below:
on how it feels to be in another final…It’s really pleasing. Arsenal Football Club is all about getting to finals and winning trophies, so we’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position in our second cup competition this year. It’s pleasing because it’s been a tough season. We’ve managed to get to the final so everybody’s thrilled to be there.
on Arsenal Ladies’ performance v Notts County…It was a tough game coming off the back of a tough Chelsea game on Thursday so there were a few tired legs. Sixty minutes in you could tell. Notts County were fresher than us so we had to make our substitutes quite quick. It was a team effort today. It was tough because Notts County are always very organised and disciplined and Rick [Passmoor] has got them playing as a tight unit. They’ve almost been our bogey team for the last few years. We always seem to lose or draw, so it’s pleasing today that we’ve come out on top and managed to get to the final.
on what spurred Arsenal on to win in extra-time…We wanted our midfielders to stay a bit higher because they were dropping deep, which was then bringing their midfield on top of ours. That meant it wasn’t allowing ours and our defensive line to have a lot of time and space on the ball. We kept our left forward and right forward higher just to enable us to get into space more.
on whether it was her decision to bring on herself to score…No, ahead of time I was supposed to be on the bench against Chelsea but I was ill before. But I felt better today and had recovered from my illness. Frans and I discussed it and it was probably good for me to get about 30 minutes but it turned out to be more because of extra-time. It’s pleasing, though, because I’ve had an injury the last few weeks so I’ve been trying to manage that but I’m good to go now.
on whether Arsenal’s home form played on their minds throughout the match…It was a typical semi-final cup game. They’re a tough side to beat - well-organised and disciplined. We knew we were in for a really tough game and we didn’t want it to go to extra-time because we had a hard game against Chelsea here on Thursday night. We wanted to use as many subs as possible to keep the team fresh, which we did. The first 20 minutes we weren’t at the races. We were a bit slow, a bit sluggish coming off the back of Thursday night. We built our way into the game and I thought we had a number of opportunities to put the game to bed earlier than we did.
on how much confidence this win will give them…Massive confidence. The team’s flying high at the minute. We had a little bit of deflation after Chelsea because I didn’t feel we deserved to lose that game - I thought we were worthy of a point. We were very good first half so we’ve got to try to keep that going and just try and work our way up the WSL table.
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