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Arsenal Women boss concedes Gunners ‘couldn’t cope’ with Manchester United in WSL defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:06 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 09 November 2020

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Joe Montemurro admits his Arsenal side “couldn’t cope” with Manchester United on Sunday as they slipped to their first Women’s Super League defeat of the season.

Manchester United's Leah Galton (left) and Arsenal's Caitlin Foord battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Leigh Sports Village.Manchester United's Leah Galton (left) and Arsenal's Caitlin Foord battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at Leigh Sports Village.

Arsenal lost 1-0 to a late strike from Ella Toone which knocked the Gunners off top spot, as they were replaced at the WSL summit by the Red Devils.

The Arsenal boss said: “In the context of the game we weren’t good, they were better and if you look at the game as a whole they deserved to win.”

READ MORE: Ella Toone strike knocks Arsenal off WSL summit

On United’s high press Montemurro said: “We didn’t deal with it, they cut distances short for us and they cut off angles.

Manchester United's Katie Zelem (centre) battles for the ball with Arsenal's Kim Little (left) and Beth Mead during the FA Women's Super League match at Leigh Sports Village.Manchester United's Katie Zelem (centre) battles for the ball with Arsenal's Kim Little (left) and Beth Mead during the FA Women's Super League match at Leigh Sports Village.

“If you struggle to pass the ball from A to B you’re going to find it difficult.

“Congratulations to Manchester United, they were the better team and they’ve invested heavily in world class players and we knew this was going to be a massive test for us.”

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The win marked Manchester United’s first win ever against the top three sides following the arrivals of Tobin Heath and Christen Press.

On United’s prospects as title challengers, Montemurro said: “It was always a situation where they were going to be a challenging for the top three and that game was an indication of that so all credit to them.”

Asked whether his side paid their opponents too much respect, the Arsenal boss replied: “It’s not really about respect, it’s about having the ability to do what is needed in the circumstances and we didn’t, they were better than us.

“We’ll look at the tactical structure, the organisation and what we didn’t do right but in the end we weren’t able to cope with what Manchester United threw at us.”

On Kim Little and Jill Roord’s return from injury, Montemurro said: “It was great to have them back on the pitch, we’re a team that is reliant on that sort of player.

“It’s nice to have one or two options off the bench that can give you what you need, we haven’t had that in the last few weeks.

“This challenge is gone and forgotten and we are at fault, but we have another challenge next week.”

Arsenal face the current champions Chelsea on Sunday (November 15).

READ MORE: Ella Toone strike knocks Arsenal off WSL summit


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