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‘This is an unbelievable feeling'

15/16: Arsenal Ladies 1-0 Chelsea - Pedro Martinez Losa

Pedro Martinez Losa spoke to the media after Arsenal Ladies' Women's FA Cup victory. Below is a transcript of what he said:

on winning the FA Cup…

It feels unbelievable. It is a dream come true. We wanted to be in the final last year and we worked so hard on the pitch and also before the final. I feel very proud of the club and the way we played the final. I hope the fans can also be proud of the victory against Chelsea.

on his tactics…

We wanted to press high from the beginning and make them uncomfortable. I think the plan was working. We knew it was going to be difficult because it is on a big pitch so you have to be very prepared. I think we did it and I think the girls were fantastic. Once you keep growing in the game, your performance increases. That happened for Kelly and their goalkeeper. Tactics are important but playing with your heart, with desire and defending your jersey is also important. I think they did both today.

on Danielle Carter…

She was in a good moment a few years ago, but she has also probably had difficult moments. She is working so hard in training and this is the type of he player you want. She can play on the right, and if she wants to play on the left, she can play on the left. She always has an impact in games. Especially in training, she is working so hard to improve on her finishing which probably was an area where she had to improve. This season she has been one of the key players for us and scoring difficult goals in key moments like at Birmingham - we were almost out of the FA Cup and she put us through. With her left foot, she brought us the game. Today, she was capable to score the winner which was fantastic.

 

Pedro Martinez Losa

Pedro Martinez Losa

 

on Kelly Smith…

On the tactical boards, it is easy to plan especially with a player like Kelly. She can be a magician in moments. We are happy, she gave us what we needed from a tactical part and the character she brought to the game. With her personality and experience, she was phenomenal. With speed in the wide areas, we were capable to combine in the middle better than Chelsea today. I think with the space and goals we have with players like Vicky Losada and Fara Williams and Kelly, we were more than capable in the middle. Kelly can make a difference in any team and she has more than enough energy. What else can I say? Thank you Kelly.

00:55

Carter's Wembley winner

on the glory days returning to Arsenal…

I think the past is the past, and we are very proud of the past as a club. Now we have to look for the future. The future is more competitive, there are always clubs that are becoming more professional. Today, we had 33,000 at Wembley. Football is always evolving and we have to evolve with football. I think we took a massive step with the last year and a half to move forward but also respecting the way we want to play, the way we want to build and the way we want to combine in the middle. We won the FA Cup, but it is going to be more competitive so we can’t say we are going win every league and every FA Cup because the opponents are good professionals, have good players, and the good thing about women’s football is that it can become very competitive. One year we won [2014] and the next year [2015] we didn’t.

on the warm up setting the tone…

I think that was part of the plan, to try and impact Chelsea mentally from the beginning to make them, especially Mille Bright and Gilly Flaherty, be uncomfortable. They are used to playing the game and dominating from the beginning, they are used to joining the full backs for the most part of the game. I think that was the first step mentally. The hard work of Kelly, Asisat Oshoala and Carter, we could score goals. It is not just about scoring goals, but it was about the feeling that we were creating in the final third. They were not comfortable at any moment.

on a sending a message out…

There are a few elements. First, we played on a perfect pitch which means we can play good football. Secondly, we are a winning team, especially with players like Williams, Alex Scott, Casey Stoney and Kelly Smith. They know how to taste victory. So when they smell that, they go for it. It is a tradition, and it is something we wanted so bad, especially to beat Chelsea. I also think that we can challenge for the league. Every game is competitive and we will see players losing points. From tomorrow, we have to plan to beat Doncaster, which is going to be very difficult.

on the defence being strong…

The key was to try and disconnect Fran Kirby from the game. They just tried to play long balls to surprise us, but our organisation in defence was very good - not just the centre backs, but the two defenders out wide. The full team worked together. Fran was disconnected for the most part of the game. I think that was a key moment to building our football.

 

Sari van Veenendaal celebrates Dan Carter's Women's FA Cup winner

Sari van Veenendaal celebrates Dan Carter's Women's FA Cup winner

 

on Chelsea…

That is the way they play, with that physicality. Players like Bright can play long balls. If you can disconnect the wingers, then it is very difficult at times. One moment they can find space and the next they can be defensive. I think that if they feel comfortable, they can smash you in 10 minutes. We knew our strengths and we knew their weaknesses, so we tried to show our strengths today.

on Stoney and Henning at the back…

I think that was part of the key to the success. Also, you have to look at the work of Alex and Emma Mitchell, but also try to defend higher, not deeper and deeper and deeper.. That was the key. It is not easy for players like Casey and Josephine to defend 50 yards from goal, but that was the chance we had to win the game.

on Chelsea having a few chances…

I don’t remember the game, so I don’t know how many chances they had to score. They had a few, but that comes down to the player and who is crossing. I think the chances we had with the space gave Asisat and Dan more opportunities. I think they found it very difficult to penetrate, especially in between our midfielders and centre backs. We were very, very competitive.

on managing at Wembley…

As you can imagine, it is a unique opportunity that will never come back. There can be another opportunity, but this will never come back with this group of players who worked so hard. They deserved this one because there were moments where we were suffering. This is the best one. They are winners, all of them. Some of them came through the youth system, so it's a fantastic feeling. As we know, football can change quickly and we have to think about Chelsea also. I would also like to mention my staff, because they are part of the secret. They work so hard, 24 hours for our players. This is a group of players and people that give everything to this club. They do their job very well every day.

on giving fans something to cheer about…

I think that women’s football is growing. It has been my responsibility for 15 years when I became a coach in the women’s game to play well. I don’t know how many people came to the game today but it is our obligation to make them enjoy it. Next time they see a game they will want to come. That is a part you can control. When you see something you like, you come back again.

on the crowd…

In the past I was playing in the Championship in Spain and in front of a big crowd, but not 33,000, that is the biggest one. In America, you sometimes have 25,000. But the football here is different, everyone understands the game and understands what our women are doing. It is beautiful to look ahead to the future, to have this experience and to be in this position as a winner. It is the best feeling.

on if big crowd could support teams in Spain…

We have good players [in Spain], but in terms of the structure, we are behind. Before I came here, I thought the USA was the best league in the world and I was surprised but then I changed my mind. There is the potential here to be the best league in the world. The project the FA are doing is really good and they are doing really well. This would never happen in America, a final at Wembley in front of 33,000. I think we are in the right place in the right moment. In Spain, there needs to be a structure that can support the players for the future. Here, we have players on TV and with different options to follow their careers, Spain doesn’t.

 

 

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