Aaron D’Antino says it was a 'game of two halves' in Arsenal win over Slavia Prague

Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord battles with Slavia Praha’s Tereza Kozarova during the Women's UEFA Champion

Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord battles with Slavia Praha’s Tereza Kozarova during the Women's UEFA Champions League, second round first leg match at Meadow Park, London. Picture date: Tuesday August 31, 2021. - Credit: PA

Aaron D’Antino says it was a game of 'two halves' as Arsenal beat Slavia Prague 3-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

Nikita Parris, Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema scored the goals that put Arsenal in a comfortable position heading into next week's second leg.

D’Antino was in the dugout instead of Jonas Eidevall as he was back in Sweden sorting out visas for his family.

“It was a game of two halves, in the first half we really controlled the game," he said.

"Our detail was there on the ball but also with our off-the-ball movement. We knew they would be aggressive in terms of man-marking so a lot of gaps did open up and we got a lot of joy in wide areas.

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“Then in the second half they came out with more fight, they were more physical and started the press a little higher, they started to cause us issues with the long ball and it was challenging for us in dealing with that but also dealing with the runners.

"The second half became a lot scrappier and a lot more about us competing with them physically as opposed to controlling the game with the ball.

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"In saying that, I think we deserved more goals and there were some good opportunities. If we’d scored more of those I think the morale becomes higher but we summarised afterwards by saying there were some really good lessons learned to take into the second leg and Sunday too.”

With the transfer window in the Women’s Super League closing on Thursday, he was asked if there would be any more business at the club and added: “I couldn’t tell you! That’s a Jonas question! My detail is watching videos and training, he’s the man doing the business so I can’t give you any gossip.”

With the Women’s Super League starting on Sunday against Chelsea, he was asked if playing the Champions League qualifiers would give Arsenal the upper hand against the defending domestic champions.

“I think it’s been great in terms of our preparation. It gave us a focus immediately in pre-season from day one, knowing that these games were coming and it was going to be competitive earlier than the season," he added.

"It gives you a different mindset going into pre-season. With the way it played out with the Olympic girls not being around it gave everyone an opportunity to really show Jonas what they are about early on.

"There are some really good lessons learned which I think are going to put us in a really good place for Sunday as well as next week.

"We want to be in Europe so whenever the games come we have to be prepared to play. It’s been positive from the first day.”

He also went on to praise the midfield three of Mana Iwabuci, Frida Maanum and Little and how they combined, adding: “They were amazing, to be able to watch the three combine in the middle of the park and just work, they were relentless, it’s a real joy.

"The scary thing is we still have a long way to improve. They’ve barely been together so it’s only going to get better.”

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