Joe Montemurro praises Arsenal players following WSL season finale

Arsenal Women's manager Joe Montemurro

Arsenal Women's manager Joe Montemurro issues instructions from the touchline - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Joe Montemurro praised his players after the Women's Super League season ended with a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Montemurro was taking charge of his final WSL match against Villa who survived relegation while Arsenal confirmed Champions League football for next season.

"They have been brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of them," Montemurro said.

"We’ve had a lot of ups and downs together, more ups I hope, we’ve all learned along the way and become better people for this journey we’ve been on together."

He added: "When you’re in the midst of it you don’t really have a chance to think about it, we had an objective in the last few weeks to qualify for the Champions League and we did it well. 

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"It is a little bit sad, I will miss this, I will miss this ground and I will miss being part of the WSL."

On the game in general as the Gunners failed to break down a stubborn Villa side the Australian said: "Frustrating is probably a good word, we were a bit slow in executing and then the frustrations kick in and then we started forcing things and then they don’t happen for you.

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"That’s unlike us, we’re usually emotionally switched on but today we lacked there a little bit.

"From Villa’s perspective they wanted to make sure they didn’t concede early and need to chase the game  they needed a point and the longer that went on the better it was for them, and we couldn’t find the solutions."

Asked if it was a frustrating season in terms of not challenging Chelsea or Manchester City for the title he said: "I think we recruited well this year and had a very sold squad, we lost Steph Catley, Jen Beattie and Viki Schnaderbeck for a long time and these things can add up. 

"But we can’t look for excuses, at times this season we were fantastic and at times it didn’t work. 

"That’s football and you have to take the good with the bad, but we always went out and tried to play our brand of football and give ourselves a chance of winning every game."

Chelsea were crowned champions with Montemurro sending his congratulations to the Blues and Emma Hayes' saying" They’re a very powerful side with a very deep squad of talented players and those players win you games, like they did today, they find the solution when there isn’t a solution.

"They’ve done very well and we congratulate them and wish them the best for the Champions League also."

Aston Villa were marking Arsenal very tightly and on that tactic, the boss said: "It wasn’t a surprise that they did that no. We expected lots of players around the ball and no room to move and Villa did that really well and the game went the way it did, a draw was a fair result."

Steph Catley came on at half-time replacing Leonie Maier as the Gunners switched to a back three on that tactic Montemurro said: "We thought with a back three we could build up a tad lower and pull out their middle three but we just couldn’t find any solutions." 

Montemurro has been vocal on the touchline this season but against Villa he wasn't, on why this was he explained: "There have been games this season where I felt the group needed a little bit more guidance from the bench and there are games where I’ve chosen to do that.

"A lot of it has been on the back of some of the difficult times we’ve had this season and sometimes the emotions have been high and low and it’s important as a coach to step in when you need to."

The Gunners boss went on to congratulate Aston Villa on staying up in the top flight and said that with them needing a result had more of an impact on the game.

"There was a real objective for Villa, we wanted to finish the season off on a high but it showed and it took its toll in the game.Congratulations to Aston Villa on staying up."

Montemurro takes charge of his final Arsenal game this weekend against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup at Meadow Park. 

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