Interview

‘This really was a defining game for us’

Montemurro

Joe Montemurro’s half-time team talk inspired us to our seventh consecutive Women’s Super League win of the season on Sunday as we beat Birmingham City 3-1.

We went in at the break with the score tied at 0-0 after failing to trouble the Blues’ defence - but following the break, we instantly upped our attacking intensity and secured all three points. 

We spoke to Montemurro after the final whistle - and this is what he said:

on whether that was our toughest game of the season so far...
Of course. They’re a difficult team to play. They always have been and they always will be a team that comes very well organised and does a very good job, so we knew that there was certain things that they could hurt us with, but in the end I think we did enough to win the game.

on Birmingham’s defence…
We couldn't break them down in the first half, but the biggest problem was our distances. Our distances were a little bit off today. We allowed them to get into areas where normally we’re very good. It didn’t happen in the first half but in the second half we adjusted things, retained the ball better and created a lot of chances. Berger being the world-class goalkeeper that she is pulled off some brilliant saves.

on his half-time team talk…
There were some stern words. It was about wake up calls and just making sure that we’re not resting on our laurels if we want to be the team that we want to be on the world stage. We have to make sure that everything is done properly, competitively and repetitively all the time. We can’t think that things are just going to happen for us at times.

on winning seven WSL games in a row…
Our objective is always the next game. We just want to make sure that we’re ready for the next game and so be it if the records fall, if the records come or if the records happen, great, it’s all credit to the staff and players, but as I said, we just need to make sure that each game is meticulously designed and meticulously gone through, the attitude is right and we respect every team that we play. I respect Birmingham, they’re a really good team. 

on the physical nature of the game…
In the first half we were late to a lot of things and that was again going back to our distances. Our distances were a little bit far in the defensive phase and once we tidied those up and cleaned those up I felt that we dominated.

on upping our intensity after the break…
We’ve played a lot of games already this year with pre-season and the Conti Cup and we’ve kept the level very high, we’ve kept our intensity very high and we’ve kept the rhythm very high too. So maybe it was just a little bit of a rest for them! It’s very difficult sometimes to maintain these levels, but again, all credit to Birmingham because they caused us trouble in the first half. But once we got the distances right in the second half we were able to get the result.

on Kemme returning from injury…
We were laughing because I asked the physio yesterday if she’s ready to play five minutes, and I thought I was going to get [shouted at]by the physio. But he said no, she’s ready to go! We love Tabea, we love having her here at the club and I wish her a speedy return. She’ll be back very soon.

on the importance of three points before the international break…
It’s very important. Today was a really defining game for us because they just give us trouble and this team have always given us trouble historically, so all credit to them because we had to make sure that we won the game a little bit differently to what we usually do, but for us to be the team that we want to be we have to learn to win games like this.