‘World-class players produce when you need it’


Joe Montemurro was full of praise for Vivianne Miedema following our thrilling 2-1 win over Birmingham City in the Continental League Cup on Wednesday night.

Trailing the Blues in the 84th minute, the Dutch striker delivered an inch-perfect cross into the path of Danielle Van de Donk, who headed home from close range, before scoring a last-gasp winner to book our place in the semi-finals. 

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

on the overall performance… 
We didn’t play the football we normally play and we didn’t play well at all. I think it’s evident that we’re fatigued and making errors that we’d never make on Sunday, but all credit to Birmingham because they came out and gave us a good game. 

on Miedema’s last-gasp winner…
It was just relief. As I’ve said before we’ve got world-class players that can produce those moments when you need them, even when they’re tired and they’re fatigued. We’ve got one eye on Chelsea, let’s be honest - and that showed through some of our errors. 

on what was missing from the performance…
We just couldn’t adapt to the spaces or the shape. We became too long on the pitch and we were making far too many silly errors. You’re going to have those games. In order for us to keep winning and playing the way that we want to play, we’ve got to accept that sometimes we will have these games. Today was one of them.

on his half-time team talk…
Obviously I wanted to boost the players psychologically. We had a tough game against West Ham and then Birmingham are the team I dreaded to get in the quarter-finals because they’re a really, really good team. They’re well organised and they’ve got some dangerous players, and then we’ve got Chelsea on Sunday, so I needed to give them more of a belief that today was a normal week where you’d get that training stimulus, and obviously we got through it unscathed.

on whether Katrine Veje is us to speed with the squad yet…
Not just yet, she needs a bit more time. It was good to give her some minutes and I think she’ll take a couple of weeks to get into full flow. You could see that she needs to understand the system and the structure and so on, but the talent is there and you can see that she can play. She just needs to find her rhythm.

on whether he was ever in doubt that Miedema would score…
Never in doubt. When she finds that space she’s so good in front of goal. It was one of those games where we weren’t at our best and we weren’t good, but we did enough. Sari made a great penalty save too.

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