Why we made pre-season so ‘uncomfortable’

Despite losing three of our five pre-season fixtures, Joe Montemurro is adamant that we’re ready to go against West Ham on Sunday. 

Our head coach wanted to push his squad out of their comfort zone and into difficult situations - and this was certainly achieved, as we faced Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Barcelona with few players in peak condition. 

“Pre-season was about not resting on our laurels,” Montemurro told ArsenaI Player. “We specifically designed the pre-season as you saw through the games that we played where we weren’t ready to play that type of opposition.

“I wanted to put them out of their comfort zone, but I wanted to put them out of their comfort zone to embrace that, not to look at it as a negative. To say okay, we’re uncomfortable here, how are we going to react to it? How are we going to be better in this situation? And I think that’s the mark of champion teams. When the situation isn’t going well and the situation is a little bit uncomfortable, how are we going to better it and make it better?

“The second [reason we faced tough opposition so early on] is because we’ve got players that are coming out of World Cup finals and big tournaments - and this is now going to become commonplace in women’s football. In men’s football you can be playing a World Cup, get a week’s holiday and then you’re back in to training qualifying for the Europa League or Champions League or whatever it is. This is now happening in women’s football, so they’re uncomfortable and they need to get used to being uncomfortable. It was a matter of really making them understand that we can’t rest on our laurels.” 

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