Press conference

Montemurro - We were below-par for the whole game

Montemurro

Joe Montemurro was left frustrated on Sunday as we made a disappointing start to 2021, drawing 1-1 with Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

Afterwards, our head coach faced the media and this is what he told them: 

on taking too many touches…
Yes, I would agree with that, we couldn’t find any solutions. Usually we can pass our way out but today everything needed two or three touches, everything needed a bit more and our positioning wasn’t very good - especially in the first half and we paid for it.

on making a triple substitution at the break…
We were a bit low in our positioning and we needed to get higher and Leah and Jen can pass beyond and in between the lines and that helped us a little bit. They were finding the gaps and the spaces and circulating a little bit quicker but it broke down when we got to the top third. We were below-par for the whole game today, I don’t think we can pinpoint a period, we just didn’t get into our rhythm and didn’t position ourselves well enough for the passing opportunities and we need to fix that.

on whether preparation was affected by players having to self-isolate…
It could have had a little bearing, the reality is that some players weren’t prepared to play 90 minutes as a result because of their training stimulus during the week and we had to balance that out. We had to balance whether we start them and risk an injury or do we ease them in for more of a long-term scenario? I had to make that decision.

on our recent form…
Sometimes you get these situations in a season and it was always going to be a tough game coming here, I wish I had a magic wand but the reality is that we have to keep learning from these scenarios and keep preparing as best as we can. We’ve lost a bit of fluidity, a bit of zip and we have to position ourselves better and do it better, we’re just not doing it well enough at the moment.

on our targets for the season…
Our target is to win the next game and play good football. There are a lot of big games to happen and a lot of teams to play each other. Reading were very, very good today and there is a lot of football to be played in this league. I don’t set targets in terms of having to reach this or that. We prepare for each game and we want to be the best we can be in each game and after that, the results take care of themselves at the end of the season.

on Anna Patten making her second Arsenal debut…
She will be a special player, we’re very proud to have her here. It was a tough start for her but she showed some really good signs and we really believe in her going forward and we believe that she’ll be a really big player for Arsenal.

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