Arsenal head coach Joe Montemurro took full responsibility for his side’s disappointing 3-0 defeat to rivals Chelsea when speaking after the match at Kingsmeadow last night.
The loss left Arsenal in fourth place, 12 points adrift of their West London rivals, and Montemurro conceded that the title may now be out of Arsenal’s grasp.
“Mathematically, there’s still a lot to play for but, you know, realistically, sometimes you’ve got to start to set other targets” said Montemurro when speaking in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present.
“We obviously have a Champions League spot to play for. [We’ve got] two games in hand, that will get us closer to that third spot and we’ll keep making sure that we keep building and keep progressing forward.
“So for us, there’s not a lot lost yet. We still mathematically can do things and we’ll keep going.”
While the Arsenal head coach acknowledged the disappointment, he said he wasn’t concerned about the team’s performance.
He added “If we were miles and miles away, I would be concerned, but we’re not, we’re very, very close.
“I think if we look too far into this game, it probably will drive us crazy because, there wasn’t a lot wrong, apart from, you know, them scoring three goals.”
Arsenal started the game brightly, passing out from the back and trying to play through Chelsea’s press. Montemurro confirmed this was the game plan.
“We can’t play long to Chelsea” he said. “We were beating their press quite easily in the first half and then they started to drop off.
“The idea is always to be able to control going forwards, we’re not going to get much luck playing long balls into their back four.”
Arsenal have struggled with injuries this season, and Montemurro admitted “It’d just be nice to have these games with a full composite of personnel.”
He offered an update on Caitlin Foord, who was ruled out of the game with a knee injury, “We don’t think it’s anything drastic and we’ll give you the exact update once we know the results of the scans from the doctors” said Montemurro. “It has just been a 24-48 hour thing, that’s just come up so yeah, Caitlin wasn’t available, which was disappointing.”
Last night’s defeat was another loss to a ‘top four’ side for Arsenal, who haven’t beaten any of their UEFA Women’s Champions League rivals in the league for over a year. When asked what keeps going wrong in these big games, Montemurro replied “As the coach, I take full responsibility. I make all the decisions so, obviously I’m getting some things wrong.”
Arsenal are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Aston Villa in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.