SO it was back to business for Arsenal on Sunday when they lifted a 12th FA Cup trophy after beating Bristol Academy 3-0 at Doncaster Rovers FC.
Steph Houghton put Arsenal into the driving seat in under two minutes with a fine header and second half goals from player of the match Jordan Nobbs and striker Ellen White sealed the first Arsenal trophy for new manager Shelley Kerr. Mark Sampson’s side played their part too though and both managers are now looking ahead to a league campaign that could prove tighter than ever before. This was Shelley’s verdict on the match with a bit of Steph thrown in…
Arsenal boss Shelley Kerr
Q: How does it feel to win the 39thtrophy for Arsenal and the first for yourself at the club?
SK: I thought the girls were absolutely magnificent today. In terms of winning the 39thtrophy it so important for this club to continue to win and I’m extremely delighted for the girls and everyone connected with the club.
SK: That was in our game plan! Since we started this season we’ve struggled a bit to get an early goal so today it was a big turning point and it made us settle as a team. I thought we were really calm and composed on the ball.
Q: Did you feel you had to bounce back from the 4-0 loss to Liverpool at the Emirates?
SK: It’s easy to misinterpret that when you see the scoreline, anybody that was at the game would have seen it was ten minutes of madness on our part. We’ve played 12 games this year and that was the 13thand 10 of those were cup ties so we’ve only played two league games and already people were writing us off. But you have to accept that when you are at a club of the stature of Arsenal. People have expectations both within and out the club. We know that and we just have to concentrate on the things we do well and that’s play football and I think you saw that today.
Q: What about Bristol?
SK: You have to give them credit, they’ve had a really fantastic start to the season. Still, in spells in the game, even though we were dominant, they caused us some problems and all the teams are catching up and that makes it competitive but if you are a player or a coach that’s what you want to be involved in.
Q: What about player of the match Jordan Nobbs?
SK: I never like singling out individuals but she is a class act. She is getting stronger each game. I saw her play when she was 14 and she has grown and developed ever since and the future is bright for her.
Q: Nice to see her score that header?
SK: We spoke at half time about getting in on the back post so I don’t know if she’s done that subconsciously but we did speak about that. At times the deliveries were going into the back and we had no-one near but she is a bright intelligent player.
Q: Conti Cup and League now?
Steph Houghton, Arsenal skipper
Q: Was there a determination to bounce back today?
SH: Yes, being in a club like Arsenal we are not used to losing. But as Shelley said, the scoreline didn’t reflect the game but as players we knew that we needed to improve and over the last few games we’ve done that. We knew how much we wanted to win the FA Cup and it was disappointing to get knocked out last year and to come here today and put the performance out we have done is credit to all the girls and the coaching staff.
Q: Was it a tough playing surface today?
SH: The pitch was quite hard and a bit sandy and we knew we might have to take an extra touch but that we played the football we did shows how much talent we’ve got in the squad and how much trust we have in each other’s abilities to keep playing football and keep playing it the right way.
SHE KICKS – the online community for women’s football