Pedro Martinez Losa has hailed the welcome Arsenal Ladies have enjoyed in Japan as “one of the best experiences" of his career and says there is a “good vibe” in his squad ahead of Wednesday's International Women’s Club Championship opener.
The Gunners enter the competition at the semi-final stage against Okayama Yunogo Belle. After four days at their tournament base in Urawa – in the same hotel the men's side used during the 2013 Asia Tour – the manager believes his team is well prepared.
"There’s a good energy among the players, a good vibe and I think we are ready"
“The trip has been a fantastic experience for all of us, and now we need to focus on the competition," said Losa. "The team has been able to rest the last couple of days. There’s a good energy among the players, a good vibe and I think we are ready.
“I think [in Okayama Yunogo Belle] we are playing against a typical Japanese team, very organised and disciplined. They are going to be very aggressive and to try to play their game and we need to be prepared for that. They have a fantastic player in [Japan captain] Aya Miyama and they are going to give everything from the first minute to the last.
“But we can compete with the same strengths too. We are very tactical and have top talented players in the middle. We have young players who are always improving and also experienced players too, experienced in playing top games in top competitions.”
Lianne Sanderson, who fielded questions on her “very cool” hairstyle among other topics at the pre-match media session, added: “We want to excite the crowd tomorrow and put on a good show. We’re looking forward to coming up against some quality players, it’s going to be exciting.”
Away from their match preparations, the Ladies have continued to enjoy a fantastic welcome in Urawa. Visiting a local high school on Monday for a coaching session, the team was greeted from the bus by a packed playground of students, and young cheerleaders shaking pom-poms.
Losa has been blown away by the reception. “The welcome we’ve received has been unbelievable - it’s been one of the best experiences of my career," he said.
"The character of everyone we’ve met, the hospitality and how friendly they are, they give you everything, appreciate every detail and are very educated about our team. The players are really enjoying it and doing very well - connecting with everybody - and we are trying to give everyone a fantastic experience about our club and about Arsenal.”
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