Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal took one huge step towards UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification on Sunday as they beat Everton 2-1 at Walton Hall Park thanks to a last minute Kim Little penalty.
The victory means that Arsenal remain three points clear of their closest challengers Manchester United and head coach Montemurro and his players know that even they lose, it would need a considerable swing in the goal difference to deny them European football next season.
Commenting on his side’s latest victory in his post-match press conference, Montemurro said “The pressure was on today, we just needed to make sure we got a result. Job done and the character of the girls shone through.”
Arsenal were awarded a penalty in the final minute of second half stoppage time and it was up to Little to step up and convert. Montemurro was full of praise for his captain at full-time.
He added “There’s so many words to describe how brilliant Kim is and how fantastic she is for the group, as a player and in pressure moments. That’s why she’s a world class player.”
The victory over The Blues Girls leaves Arsenal virtually assured of a top three finish other than a miracle for Manchester United next weekend and Montemurro was well aware of the fact that the job was done.
“It needs to be a big win next week for United,” Montemurro said. They are playing Everton and we’ve seen how Everton are very very difficult to break down.
“You never want to say that is it but we’re pretty confident that we’ve put ourselves in a position of control.
“I’ve said it all along that we need to be in the Champions League every year, we need to be thereabouts. This club deserves it, these players deserve it.”
In many instances throughout the season, it looked like a top three finish was beyond Arsenal’s reach but after Manchester United dropped points, they took full advantage and went on an impressive eight-game winning run. With Montemurro due to depart at the end of the season, there can be few better parting gifts from the Australian than earning the right to play in Europe’s premier club competition once he’s gone.