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Montemurro on City, Nobbs, injuries: transcript | Press conference | News

Joe Montemurro faced the media again on Wednesday, ahead of this week’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

Our head coach was asked about the fitness of Lia Walti, Steph Catley and Jen Beattie, City’s threat and the challenges he’s set Jordan Nobbs this season. 

Read on for a full transcript:

on Walti, Catley and Beattie…
Lia Walti and Jen are in the squad for tomorrow night. Steph Catley, no.

on the challenges he’s set for Jordan Nobbs this season…
The main one is just her effectiveness. We just want her to be more efficient and effective. Jordan is very energetic, she likes to be involved all the time but we’ve just set her some challenges to be involved where she can be really effective. She may take up positions sometimes where other players are in positions that can be more effective. It’s a bit about her positioning, it’s a bit about her effectiveness in creating space on the ball. That will give her the physical parameters to be a bit more efficient. 

on laying down a marker with a result at Man City…
It’s very, very important that we make a good account of the situation. As I’ve said many times, we’re in every tournament to win it. It’s obviously tricky with the scheduling but it is what it is and we need to make sure we’re prepared for it. Ever since I’ve been here, with City alone, we’ve been quite competitive. We beat them twice last year and we unfortunately lost to them at the Academy Ground. They’re a very good team and they’ve recruited very, very well again this year. It’s going to be a really good indicator for us as to where we’re at. 

on where the game will be won and lost…
I think there’s a few areas. The team that gets into their rhythm as quick as possible and is able to control and dictate is going to be very, very important. We are similar footballing sides which is really important. There needs to be a level of patience tomorrow, that City might have a bit of the ball because they are a very good ball-playing side. We just need to be smart in terms of picking our times and our ability to win the ball back and dictate it. It’s do or die and there are moments in the game where we need to make sure that we’re prepared for so we don’t let ourselves down. 

on Everton and Birmingham reaching the Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-finals…
It’s definitely a tournament that has brought some surprises. West Ham made the final last year or the year before, so I think it’s all testament to the league and the teams that are improving. We know the cup and knock-out tournaments do bring surprises and situations. That proves that the gap isn’t as big as what everyone is saying. I’ve seen in many interviews where even we, having the results we had against Reading and West Ham, know that they will be teams who are strong come the New Year. They’ve all got their squads together a little bit later than us and it’s going to take a little bit of time to integrate new players. The gap isn’t as big as what they say it is, and I’m sure this year will really prove that come the end of the year. 

on whether we are benefitting from early transfer business…
It’s a good question. I don’t like commenting on the recruitment of other teams and who they bring in, it’s not for me to judge or comment on. I can only comment on what we do at Arsenal and as we’ve got solid foundations on the positions and the types of player that we needed to recruit, it was always quite easy for me to do the bulk of the recruiting when the opportunity arises. It always is an issue in integration and it always is an issue of finding the right balance, with players coming in at different fitness levels. You are going to have those teething problems when you put a team together a little bit later, or the recruits come in later. But they are a fantastic squad and they’ve got players who have been playing right up to a few weeks ago in the Champions League. The quality of the footballers they’ve got is very high and I’m sure they’ll find their feet accordingly. 

on preparations for the first double game week…
We’re obviously seeing the effects of the international break and some groups have had some very tough games and tough travel as well. It always takes a little bit of time to get them back but we’re in a position now where if we need to err on the side of caution, we can. The really important thing is that we set things up to go forward, that we create the foundations to make sure we’re prepared for a very important WSL game at the weekend, and a Conti Cup game next Wednesday, then another two WSL games in a week’s time after that. It’s a little bit about getting everyone right for this game but then also thinking forward on who’s going to be fresh and who’s going to suit the lineup that we need to play against the teams we’ve got going forward. It’s a bit of both.

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