By Phil Medlicott, PA
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall has stressed the importance of a positive mindset heading into Sunday’s Continental Tyres League Cup final against serial trophy winners Chelsea.
Eidevall’s side face a Blues outfit who, since the Gunners last secured silverware in 2019, have been Women’s Super League champions three times and claimed two FA Cups and two League Cups.
Last Sunday Arsenal lost 2-0 at Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, the third successive time they have been defeated in that competition by Emma Hayes’ side, which includes the delayed final that took place in December 2021, a few months after Eidevall took charge.
Eidevall was asked at a press conference ahead of this weekend’s clash at Selhurst Park about the issue for opponents of Chelsea’s mentality of being used to winning, and he said: “It’s about learning and developing.
“You’re right, domestically, that Chelsea have won a lot. If you look internationally, they have a habit of losing when they play important games.
“I think if you ask Chelsea about that, they would say our next step is to grow into being a team that can win consistently on the international level, and they think that’s possible.
“Of course, we also think that’s possible for us, domestically and at international level. So that’s the mindset we have.
“If you want to be almost imprisoned by your mindset and say, ‘that’s going to be hard, it’s going to be difficult for us’, it is going to be hard and difficult, but you need to have that belief, that optimism that things can change, you can learn, you can develop, and just because it happened one way yesterday, it can be different tomorrow if you’re working toward making it different. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
The FA @ContiUK League Cup Final 2023@ArsenalWFC 🆚 @ChelseaFCW #ContiCup pic.twitter.com/3kLXfswtLS
— Barclays Women’s Super League (@BarclaysWSL) March 3, 2023
Eidevall was then asked if having watched Chelsea – who were beaten in last year’s League Cup final by Manchester City – lift trophies provided Arsenal with any fuel for Sunday, and he said: “No. I don’t know if I’ve seen Chelsea lift any trophy. I think I’ve tried to escape watching those moments.
“It’s not about any revenge from me, from any other sides in Arsenal, it’s about what we want to try to create together, and the memories we want to create. So that’s all we focus on.
“Chelsea have obviously been doing it very, very well here, very impressive winning that much. But we need to focus on what we can do, and not showing them too much respect, and doing our very best trying to win the game.”
Eidevall has also spoken about former Leicester boss Lydia Bedford being appointed to his coaching staff as one of his assistants.
“Lydia works as an assistant coach with an individual focus,” he said. “She is seeing that individual contribution that we want from each player in offence and defence, are we getting that out?
“I think that is so valuable, having someone with head coach experience like Lydia does being able to influence the game from an individual level. I think she’s a great addition.
“I think in all workplaces it’s important to have diversity, both with gender and race and different backgrounds, because it helps to connect with different people, to have different perspectives, different competences.
“First and foremost we hired Lydia because she’s a very good coach, but I think it’s important we have both male and female coaches, both for more indirect purposes but also some really direct purposes. I think it has a lot of positives with it.”