Following their FA Cup final loss to Chelsea, VAVEL spoke to Arsenal defender Louise Quinn about the match and the development of the squad under Joe Montemurro.
Not at their best
On top at the start of the game, before battling for dominance before the break, the Gunners were hit for three over the course of the second half as the Blues dictated the tie.
“We feel like we could have performed a better, even some of the basics, just sticking to it. It wasn’t our day; Chelsea turned up, they played well and, in some circumstances we couldn’t stop them. But just in our own performance, we wanted to do better and it wasn’t from a lack of trying, you could see determination from everyone but it just didn’t happen.”
Up against a vicious attack lead by Fran Kirby and Ramona Bachmann, Chelsea have laid waste to most defences they’ve faced so far this term and Quinn admits that the best way of standing up to the pressure it playing your own game.
“You just have to stick to your own tactics, you know the quality of player you’re up against… there’s no way to specifically stop them but maybe we’ve got to be able to close off those spaces better and sometimes, that was it, they had a bit too much space. You want to be able to do better in those situations especially as a defender, but you are playing against quality players and you’ve always got to do better especially at that stage.”
With the final slipping through their fingertips, Vivianne Miedema cut the deficit in half with little more than 20 minutes left. The comeback though was short-lived as the Blues reopened the gap soon after the restart, the wind taken out of Arsenal’s sails before they could even look for an equaliser.
“We were feeling optimistic at 2-1 but you’ve got to keep the concentration and that was a massive shock to the system.”
Things looking up
From a once great team, Arsenal have somewhat fallen down the pecking order in England, still a persistent feature of cup finals, the Gunners have lacked some of their former sparkle. After a dismal few games at the start of the season that had the London side looking considerably off of the pace in WSL, the team parted ways with manager Pedro Martinez Losa and brought in Australian favourite, Montemurro. The progress made by Montemurro has been felt both on and off the pitch, the team still with the problems but with two cup finals under their belt this season and a chance of finishing in the top two, things are certainly looking up for the Gunners.
“This season has been more of a building block, I think you can see that we definitely lifted ourselves up especially winning the league cup, and in the league and with how far we’ve come. We do realise that we’ve had to battle back and I think we did but then it was so much work and effort that we just ran out of a little bit of steam for this occasion but we’re just going to keep going forward. Joe’s done brilliant stuff for us so to have him from the start of the season hopefully that’s going to mean big things for the club.”
Initially picked up last year after her former club, Notts County folded, Quinn has been one of the surprise packages in North London, doggedly defending and chipping in with important goals throughout. Having left Eskilstuna United at the end of the 2016 season, the Irish international remains honest, never expecting to have reached a cup final at Wembley.
“Getting here wasn’t even in my mindset, at points this didn’t even seem possible so from a personal point of view it’s absolutely huge for me but as a player you just want to come and win.”