Arsenal Women were 4-0 victors over Okzhetpes of Kazakhstan in Moscow this morning in their first Champions League qualifier, with goals from Mana Iwabuchi, Kim Little, Beth Mead and Nikita Parris. They will now play the winners of PSV Eindhoven v Lokomotiv Moscow (being played later on this afternoon) in Moscow on Saturday for the right to play in the final qualifying round. Tim Stillman spoke to Jonas Eidevall post-game, the first two questions are from Arseblog News, the others from other journalists.

On the performance of Mana Iwabuchi on her Arsenal debut…
Mana is useful in many ways but she is so fast in the way that she thinks and the way she disguises passes. I was talking to some of the staff the other day and we talked about the passes she makes in training and usually I think I am good at seeing what the next pass will be but she surprises me when I am watching. The way she scans and plays those passes is great for us. She has those fundamental skills to break down low blocks. The first goal is a very good example of that, a lot of people are expecting her to make a wall pass and instead she takes the initiative and shoots, which surprises everybody. It’s just an example of her game intelligence.

On Anna Patten playing the second half in midfield again…
Anna is versatile and she has played very well there, today she played really well in midfield. She was involved in almost all of our good combination plays in the second half. In the long-term we still see Anna as a right-back or a right-sided central defender but she has qualities to help us in midfield as well. An opportunity opened up for her because of the squad situation in midfield and I am delighted to see that she can come in and perform at that level.

On Nikita Parris’ debut performance…
Great for her to finish off her performance with a goal today. It was one of those opponents where you want to have movement from your forward players but they are denying you space and you have to make run after run after run to keep asking the question. She kept doing that, which was great and great that she was rewarded with the goal in the end.

On whether Arsenal should have won by more goals…
There were some circumstances that made it a little more difficult than maybe it looked on the TV. They were very hot conditions today and it was on artificial turf, which gets a little bit dry so it can be hard to move the ball with pace. But like I told the players, we scored the hard goals today and we were using established play against 11 of their players where we needed lots of passes in a row to come off. But we didn’t score from any corners, or wide free-kicks, or from crosses or counter-attacks. We need to be better in those situations as well and we need to do better with that on Saturday, no matter which opponent we play.

On whether he will make changes for the game on Saturday…
I wouldn’t call it a rotation but I would call it availability, which will be a little bit different for Saturday. I would expect, if everything goes to plan, that the Australian players will be available to start if we want them to, Jennifer Beattie is another player who I like to think would be able to start as well if we wanted to. How we will select the team will depend a little on the opponents we have and we have more practice here in Russia. But because we knew we were going to play two games, we didn’t want to start Beattie, Catley or Foord but I hope they will be available to do that on Saturday.

On Lotte Wubben-Moy, who went off in the first half with a cut to the forehead…
We had to stitch her forehead, we had to take her off because the stitching would take about ten minutes and we didn’t want to be down to ten players for that length of time.

On the combination play between the forwards…
That’s obviously one element that is very, very important and it is part of our core identity as a team and that was nice to see us express ourselves, we just need to add the other things I mentioned before.



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