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Arsenal Women’ boss Joe Montemurro hails ‘top quality’ goalscorers Danielle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema

PUBLISHED: 19:58 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:58 10 January 2019

Arsenal Women's team manager Joe Montemurro. PA

Arsenal Women's team manager Joe Montemurro. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Joe Montemurro’s talented Arsenal Women’s team reached the semi-finals of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup on Wednesday evening after beating Birmingham City Women 2-1 in a tough match at Meadow Park. Read on for Layth Yousif’s exclusive interview with the highly-rated Australian boss.

Arsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro celebrates winning the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final at Adams Park, Wycombe .Arsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro celebrates winning the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final at Adams Park, Wycombe .

Montemurro hailed goalscorers Vivianne Miedema and Dutch international star Danielle van de Donk after the Gunners dramatic 2-1 victory over Marc Skinner’s Blues.

A 61st minute goal from the Blues’ Lucy Skinner was cancelled out by an equaliser six minutes from time from Dutch international star van de Donk before a late winner from Vivianne Miedema sealed a dramatic victory.

The Gunners were kept in the game through an excellent first half penalty save by Gunners keeper Sari can Veenendaal and capitalised on her spot-kick heroics by clinching the tie late on.

Read on for Joe’s one-to-one Q&A as he praised his team and looks forward to hosting Chelsea at Boreham Wood on Sunday.

Arsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro celebrates winning the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final at Adams Park, Wycombe. PAArsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro celebrates winning the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final at Adams Park, Wycombe. PA

Danielle van de Donk’s goal got Arsenal back into the game when time was running out?

Yes, she did well. As did Miedema for the winner. Overall we didn’t play as well as we would have liked and what we’re capable of. I don’t think we played well at all to be honest. You could see we’re tired and fatigued which led to errors we don’t normally make. I have to say well done to Birmingham. They gave it a real go and could have easily beaten us. Thankfully they didn’t and we move on.

Arsenal Women's Danielle Van De Donk (left) and Chelsea Ladies' Katie Chapman (right) battle for the ball during the 2018 Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley. PAArsenal Women's Danielle Van De Donk (left) and Chelsea Ladies' Katie Chapman (right) battle for the ball during the 2018 Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley. PA

Why do you think Arsenal failed to play to the levels they are capable – or was it more of the case that Birmingham’s intense high press made things difficult?

We couldn’t adjust and made too many sloppy mistakes. We were too stretched but that’s the game. You have games like that and you move on. I have a clear way I want us to play and for us to continue to pick up wins and being true to our principles and ethos we simply have to acknowledge these type of performances will emerge now and then. Birmingham City was one of them. But look we managed to win and that was the main thing.

Miedema’s last-minute winner must have been a big relief to you...

Yes. It was a relief. This team has top-class players who can pull out those top quality moments exactly when you require them. When they’re fatigued, when things are going against you. And that’s exactly what my team did. [Smiles faintly} Her goal was never in doubt...

Can I ask what you said to the team during the interval?

Psychologically I thought we needed a boost. We’d had a tough match against West Ham on Sunday and then against a really, really good Birmingham side who set up well and contained quality players.

Leah Williamson coming on helped turn the game around? Inspired tactical substitution or were you lucky?

[Smiles]. Leah did well. She’s a quality player and she helped change the game along with the rest of the team. Sometimes you get lucky but she did well.

Finally, I hear you went back to Australia for the Christmas break...?

I had the opportunity to go back to Melbourne over the break to see my family and catch a little bit of sun. I‘ve got a beach house so we had the wood fire out and cooked some pizzas. It was good to unwind but I still kept tabs on a lot of football. It was nice to have a little break but right now all I am focussed on is my work and the team.

Joe’s Arsenal side return to Women’s Super League action with the eagerly-awaited clash against London rivals Chelsea on Sunday at Meadow Park, kick-off 1230pm.

For live updates from the match and in-depth pre and post-match coverage on Sunday follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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