Montemurro 'takes responsibility' for Arsenal loss

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro gestures on the touchline during the FA Women's Super League match at

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro gestures on the touchline during the FA Women's Super League match at Kingsmeadow, London. Picture date: Wednesday February 10, 2021. - Credit: PA

Joe Montemurro accepted full responsibility for Arsenal's 3-0 defeat to defending Super League champions Chelsea on Wednesday night.

The Gunners were hit by three second-half goals from Emma Hayes side as they failed to pick up points in a big game once again.

And Australian Montemurro said: "As the coach of the team I take full responsibility, I make the decisions and obviously I am getting some things wrong.

"I take full responsibility for these losses against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City."

Montemurro then went on to explain if his side had a confidence issue in the bigger games, adding: "If we were miles and miles away I would be more concerned but we’re not, we’re close.

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"Sunday’s game (a 2-1 home losagainst Manchester City) could’ve gone either way. The game against Chelsea at Meadow Park could’ve gone either way as well.

"I’m concerned that we can’t capitalise on these moments but if we were miles and miles away I would be more concerned.

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"It would be nice to play some of these games with a full complement of players so the options off the bench or the options on the approach could be different, but it is what it is and I am fully responsible.

"I am the coach and I can’t fault our players tonight, we will reassess and realign our targets."

The Gunners conceded two Pernille Harder strikes and a late Fran Kirby effort but Montemurro felt despite the defeat their were positives to take away from Kingsmeadow.

He said: "I’m sure my opinion will differ to others, it’s a game where we found spaces and had a lot of the ball and constructed and built moves quite well.

"We were proactive and played a good brand of football but transition football seems to be the flavour of the month and it’s unlocking us at the moment. We’ve been beaten by three very good quality transition moments."

As to whether Arsenal were out of the Women's Super League title race, he said: "Mathematically it’s there to play for but sometimes realistically you have to set other targets. We have a Champions League spot to play for, two games in hand on Manchester United to get us closer to second or third spot and to make sure we keep building and keep progressing. We will keep on going."

The 51-year-old admitted it felt disappointing to be conceding the title at this point, adding: "We set out this year with what we felt was a very balanced squad and a very solid team, so there is a lot of disappointment.

"Mathematically the title is still there but realistically we have to start realigning our process. We’re still confident that we can finish the season well and keep a good buoyant side."

Arsenal took risks when playing out from the back against the Blues high press, but discussing that tactic Montemurro said: "We can’t go long against Chelsea, we were playing out against their press well in the first half and they gradually started to drop off.

"The plan is always to try to play out going forward, we’re not going to get much by playing long balls straight into their back four, we don’t have the players for that, but Chelsea have the defenders to defend high balls."

Caitlin Foord missed the game due to a knee injury and Montemurro added: "She came in for recovery on Monday and her knee blew up, we don’t think it’s anything drastic at the moment but we’ll update everyone when we have the results of the scan."

Montemurro then issued a message to the disappointed Arsenal supporters, saying: "I’ve got a group of players who gave everything and staff that are working day in and day out to make sure we uphold the name and standards of this club and make sure the belief is still there.

"You have tough times in your career and these are tough times but this is a team we really believe in, that we believe represents the club in the best way possible.

"We’re not far off, we’ll keep going and make sure we get something out of the year and to get the backing of the fans to believe in that."

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