Arsenal v Spurs Women – Karen and Juan’s preview
Fri 16 October 2020, 19:07|Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs Women face Arsenal in the north London derby this weekend as we continue to search for our first Barclays FA Women’s Super League (WSL) victory of the season.
Our meeting with the Gunners at Meadow Park on Sunday (18 October) kicks off at 2.30pm and will be shown live on BT Sport and The FA Player.
The first-ever north London derby in the WSL last season saw us set a new all-time attendance record in the division with a crowd of 38,262 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but it was the Gunners who came away with the points after goals in the second half from Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema.
Despite a valiant display in our previous visit to Meadow Park in last month’s 2019/20 Women’s FA Cup quarter-final, it was Joe Montemurro’s side who progressed to the semi-finals following four late goals.
On our defeat to the Gunners last month in the Cup, Head Coach Juan Amoros commented: “We learnt that we have to be focussed and maintain concentration for the entire 90 minutes. We did a good job up until conceding the late goals and then after the first one went in, we weren’t strong enough mentally to prevent them from extending their lead further – we need to do better in this area. We also need to take our opportunities, there were a couple of chances in the game and we must be clinical in those key moments.”
Head Coach Karen Hills added: “We showed that we can compete with them and frustrated them, while creating some opportunities but obviously the game is over a period of 90 minutes and we just need to learn to maintain our focus. We’ve come a long way and we’re competing with some of the best teams in the world in this league. We know Arsenal are clinical in front of goal so we can’t afford to make mistakes.”
With one point from four matches in the league, Spurs Women sit ninth in the table and are yet to find a win in the new WSL campaign.
“We’re building, this is only our second season of being in the WSL,” Karen said. “We’ve brought in some exceptional players this summer who have already strengthened the team and helped us on the pitch. We’re making good strides in the right direction. The expectation is to compete and try and win games, however we know that there are some teams in the league who are more advanced than us. We just need a little bit of luck – hopefully, that’s coming soon. We know we’ve had a hard run and we’re not making excuses. We need to keep believing and be positive and know that our first win in the league isn’t far off.”
Juan said: “When we saw the calendar, we always knew that these were going to be difficult games and our target is always to go on the pitch and try to win. For us, if we want to be a top team, we need to set our expectations high. At the same time, there’s still a process, but for us it’s very important that we go into every game with a winning mentality because we’re Tottenham Hotspur.”
Yet to score in three meetings with the Gunners in all competitions, Karen and Juan’s side have registered just two goals in the WSL this season, while Sunday’s hosts have scored 23 goals in the league so far.
“We work on every aspect in training – our play going forward is something we’ve been addressing, and we are always trying to adjust things and pay more attention to the details to make sure we do better,” Juan continued. “We know our goal ratio at the moment isn’t very good and it’s something we address at training and in analysis. We’re trying our best to make sure we fix it as goals are key to winning games and when you’re putting the ball in the back of the net, it gives you confidence.”
On bouncing back from last Saturday’s narrow loss to Manchester United, Karen said: “We were really disappointed because the girls were outstanding and have been working really hard in training, but a set-piece cost us. We also know we need to take our chances because they are few and far between against the top sides – as we keep saying it’s very fine margins in this league.”