Arsenal head coach Joe Montemurro says that times have changed and that the competition at the top level of the women’s game is much greater than the period when the club were the dominant force of English football.
The Gunners are scrambling for third place and UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification this season after being left behind by both Chelsea and Manchester City.
Arsenal were the dominant force in English football during the 1990’s, 2000’s and even as recently as the early 2010’s but head coach Montemurro says that times have changed and the domestic competition is very different to what it was back in the club’s glory years.
“We all realise that the Arsenal from 10-15 years ago isn’t the Arsenal of today,” said Montemurro when speaking in a club press conference. “It’s different contexts, different environments, different approaches, different situations, different challenges.
“It is important that Arsenal identify the fact that we have to work within our means, to work with what we can do.
“The expectations of 15-20 years ago have to be re-aligned and re-looked at because it’s not a reality, it’s not where women’s football is and where the game is as a whole.
“For us, it is about us being competitive, being there and challenging at the top but also to stay in that upper echelon of European football.
“We’ve had to make some drastic sustainable changes to re-align things but we are looking forward to a really big new era of football.”
The changing environment of the women’s game can be recognised as recently as this week with The Football Association having announced a ground-breaking broadcast deal with Sky and the BBC for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League rights. While the deal is good news for the women’s game, Montemurro believes that clubs must now challenge themselves to push on.
“For great brands like Sky and the BBC to want to be involved with the WSL is important,” said The Gunners boss. “It is an amazing opportunity but I now look at it as more responsibility for the clubs.
“It is the responsibility of the clubs to make their brands watchable and make their brands something that people want and that will bring the standard of the game up.
“As much as there is an opportunity, a platform to expose the game, there is a bigger responsibility on the clubs to make sure that we step up our game also and we keep having a product that people want to see.”
Arsenal take on Tottenham Hotspur in-front of the FA Player cameras this afternoon in a North London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Collecting three points is crucial for Montemurro’s side in their bid to maintain what he describes in his interview as their position in ‘the upper echelon of European football’.