Arsenal defender Lisa Evans ‘frustrated’ with Champions League exit

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Arsenal’s Scottish International defender Lisa Evans felt ‘frustrated’ following the Gunners UEFA Women’s Champions League exit on Saturday to French side Paris Saint-Germain.

Evans who played 76 minutes of the tie told “I felt frustrated at full-time, I think in spells we were on top and could have done more and we were unfortunate not to create more chances for ourselves. But all in all, I think we were beaten by the better team on the day.”

Goals from Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Signe Bruun proved to be the difference as PSG set up an all French semi-final with holders Lyon.

Arsenal conceded inside the first 15 minutes and summing up to why that happened Evans explained: “First of all we were really disappointed with the first goal because I don’t think we’ve conceded a set-piece goal in a long, long time.

“They started strong but then we started to come back into the game and finished the second half really well, we just couldn’t put our chances away.

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“There were a few in the first half that maybe if we’d converted it could have been a different outcome, but in the end I think it came down to PSG’s quality and we didn’t particularly get the ball down in midfield and play forward. They punished us for that and we became far too transitional.”

Beth Mead equalised for the Gunners six minutes before the break and Evans said: “It gave the Gunners a much needed confidence boost before the break” I think we were really dominant in that spell of the game and kept finding ourselves in some really good positions.

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“We were pushing on for another goal, but after the break I think we struggled a bit more and it became a bit of a grind. It showed that PSG have been back training and playing competitive games for longer.

“It was a really hard situation for everyone with COVID and having everyone in different places, so maybe it could have been different if we’d been training together a little longer, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

As the teams went in level at the break Evans who was pivotal once again for the Gunners in 2019-20 revealed what boss Joe Montemurro told them at the interval: “We had a lot of points defensively relating to dealing with the Number 10, but I actually think we defended fairly well in the first half.

“They created a few chances but they weren’t clear cut as such and in the second half we just didn’t replicate some of the positive things from the first.”

She then went on to add when reflecting on the French sides style of play: “They were really dominant and powerful.

“That was their game plan and I think if we’d solved those situations better we could have made things a lot easier for ourselves.

“We needed more of the ball and we could have played through the middle more too. We went long too early on and played their game and that allowed them to dominate in the second half.”

Next up for Arsenal is the Women’s Super League opener with Reading on Sunday September 6 and Evans said: “That’s the main focus now If anything the Champions League has been great preparation for the season.

“Unfortunately we’ve not progressed, but we still had a really good game against a top, top side who could potentially go all the way in this competition. That’s the positive we can take and now all attention turns to Reading.”

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