Head coach Montemurro: “We have a team that understands continental football that has played in big moments and situations and can now take it the next step”
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 21/08/20 6:51pm
Caitlin Foord says Arsenal players know they have to win the Women’s Champions League in order to qualify for the tournament next season.
Arsenal finished third in the curtailed 2019/20 Women’s Super League season, with Chelsea and Manchester City qualifying for next season’s Champions League through their league position.
Arsenal Women are in Spain for the nine-day tournament to complete this season’s Champions League, and face Paris Saint-Germain Feminines on Saturday in the quarter-finals.
Australia forward Foord joined Arsenal in January and is intent on playing in Europe’s elite club competition next season.
“With how the season finished, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League so we do know in our minds that we have to win this thing to still be in it [next season],” she told the Women’s Football Show.
“It’s massive for us, as footballers you want to be playing in the Champions League so it definitely gives us something to drive towards.
“But saying that, it is a big game in the Champions League, you don’t need too much motivation to get up and be excited.”
‘Strong WSL competition has prepared us’
Arsenal Women’s head coach Joe Montemurro feels the growing strength of England’s domestic league has helped prepare his side for the best sides in Europe.
“We are prepared mentally for whatever they bring to us. We are prepared tactically and structurally and can make the changes we need within the phases of play,” he told the Women’s Football Show.
“We know PSG have the big guns, players that are on a world scale and they have some experience also.
“I really do think the tough WSL is what is going to hold us in good stead.”
Montemurro also says he and his players are proud to represent Arsenal and English women’s football on such a big stage.
“The Champions League is the best club tournament in the world. We’ve done well to get to the quarter-final stage but I really do believe we can go further.
“We have a team that understands continental football that has played in big moments and situations and can now take it the next step.
“I’m so proud we can represent the country and this great club.”
‘Arsenal have depth but must overcome mental block’
Analysis by Sky Sports football expert Sue Smith…
A problem Arsenal have had is strength in depth, when key players have been injured the players who have come in haven’t been at the same level.
But they have added to that squad and the fact that Kim Little is back after undergoing surgery in February, another huge player to have in your side.
They’ve come a bit short in big games, I know it’s something Joe Montemurro is working on. ‘How are we going to cope in these situations? How are we going to play in this big games? How do we win?’
I hope they can get past PSG and get further in the tournament.
It just seems to be [a mental block], sometimes that just happens. They have been working on [the mental aspect], they have been practising penalties even though it is so hard to replicate the pressure, you can learn how to respond in that particular situation.
I think they are ready and have a really good chance against a strong PSG side.