Arsenal Women manager Montemurro admits Gunners are behind Europe's best
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Arsenal Women Manager Joe Montemurro talks to Ruby Grant of Arsenal after the match between Arsenal Women and Bayern Munich at Emirates Stadium on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal Women manager Montemurro admits Gunners are behind Europe's best

The Arsenal boss was delighted with the challenge presented to his side in pre-season by playing three of the continent's best teams in Wolfsburg, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

Harry Robinson

Arsenal Women manager Joe Montemurro was pleased with the test his side were given by FC Barcelona Femini on Wednesday test.

The Gunners were trounced 5-2 after braces from Asisat Oshoala and Claudia Pina despite goals from Katie McCabe and captain Kim Little.

However, Montemurro was very deliberate in choosing Arsenal's opposition for their pre-season campaign. They had already faced Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich before their mid-week fixture in North London against Barcelona.

It's now three losses in three games in pre-season, but Montemurro exclusively told VAVEL UK that he "wanted to play the top three or four teams in Europe to see where we're at."

Montemurro delighted with Barcelona challenge

The Arsenal manager was honest about his team's quality in comparison to Europe's very best.

"You take what you can out of these games and obviously Barcelona are more advanced than us at this stage," he said. "Let's be honest and realistic. We learnt a lot tonight and we'll keep learning and going forward."

Arsenal are preparing for their first UEFA Champions League campaign in over half a decade after being crowned Women's Super League champions earlier this year.

Arsenal setting up for Champions League test

They won the tournament back in 2007 and remain the only ever English champion in the Champions League. That record is unlikely to change this year, but Montemurro is ready to take on Europe's very best at the start of the competition.

"Ah look, we'll probably get Lyon or Wolfsburg," Montemurro said when asked about Friday's draw for the Round of 32.

"But we've got to get them at some point [if we're going to win], so let's get them early and beat them at Boreham Wood."

Montemurro was pleased with parts of his side's performance on Wednesday, claiming that Arsenal were "very, very good" in the minutes after they scored their opening goal through McCabe in the 37th minute.

Barcelona scored three times in the space of five minutes spread over half-time, with a double from Oshoula, and Montemurro admitted his side lost concentration.

Arsenal fell asleep, claims manager

"The reality is that, at this level, you can't fall asleep. You've got to keep the continuity and that's what we're working towards," he explained.

"We're not there yet. We don't have 90 minutes in us yet. Hopefully, once we find our rhythm and intensity, we'll be alright."

Danielle Carter has recently been ruled out with a serious knee injury, and Jordan Nobbs remains unavailable. She warmed up ahead of the game against Wolfsburg but didn't play and was watching from the stands against Barcelona.

"She'll start to get some minutes over the next three or four weeks and hopefully she'll be ready for the WSL," Montemurro told VAVEL UK.