Arsenal boss Montemurro pleased to bag a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals
- Credit: PA
Manager Joe Montemurro was delighted with Arsenal’s FA Women’s Cup quarter-final performance against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening.
The Gunners won 4-0 thanks to a stunning Jordan Nobbs strike and a 17 minute hat-trick from Scottish International Lisa Evans at Meadow Park.
The Australian said: “It was always going to be a very tough game today and not just from the Tottenham perspective but we were always going to need to grow into the game because we’ve had a lot of players who have been away.
“So it was always about balancing the load but knowing when we needed to step the game up but we controlled the rhythm and controlled when we decided to go forward, so I was very pleased especially in the second half when we really started to step it up a gear.
“Spurs are a very good team. They press very well and they didn’t allow us to play through the lines in the first half. Their midfield four was very tightly connected with their back four and they covered space in behind, so they didn’t allow us to play through and we had to keep dragging lines out.
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“At times in the first half we didn’t have different heights to pull them out. We were pretty flat in the build-up phase. It was just a case of allowing the game to get a little bit stretched.”
Danielle van de Donk was drafted into the starting eleven and Montemurro praised the Netherlands international’s performance by saying: “It was really important that both Kim Little and van de Donk allowed us those pivots in between that would allow us to build and drag their lines out so we could go beyond.
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“She did a great job in the first half pivoting around and then when we felt we started to find space between the lines, we made the changes and pushed her a little bit higher to finish the game off.”
Lia Wälti, Steph Catley and Jill Roord weren’t included in the match day squad as Montemurro explained: “Lia Wälti was rested that was precautionary but Steph pulled out of training with her calf again so we are just trying to work out what happened there.
“We will assess them ahead of Thursday night, we know both will want to play in an FA Cup semi-final. We’ll see how they recover but we have to make decisions not just based on now but we don’t want to overload them and for them to break down in November and December.
“Jill Roord got a knock to her knee in the Netherlands game against Russia and she hasn’t recovered as well as we’d hoped. We hope in 2-3 weeks we should have her back on the park playing.
“All the signs are positive that it’s nothing dramatic and we should have her back in a couple of weeks.”
The manager also heaped praise on Jordan Nobbs after she opened the scoring.
“Jordan’s growing, we’ve given here different challenges this year. We’ve given her different roles to give us that fluidity and balance we need but that’s typical Jordan.
“She’s capable of doing those things and that’s why she’s the player that she is. We had to control the tempo. We had to be a little bit reserved to in terms of loads and management of loads because we had a lot of players away, the Swiss, Dutch and Austrian girls had quite tough games away on international duty.
“It was good to rotate, it was good to find good balance and it was good that we could control the tempo. All credit to Tottenham, they pressed us and we found it hard in the first half through their organisation.”
Caitlin Foord was also handed a start against the Gunners north London rivals impressing the Arsenal support with Montemurro saying: “Playing Caitlin Foord allows us to probably have a second number nine and allowed Vivianne Miedema to float a little bit more and obviously we felt that we could pull out the full-back on that side and overload with our full-back and the midfield in that area.
“It worked well and all credit to all players.”
Arsenal now travel to Manchester to take on Manchester City this evening (Thursday, October 1) for a 7.45pm kick off at the Academy Stadium as they look to continue their bid to bag some silverware.
City have brought in plenty of big names this summer including England International star Lucy Bronze.