Arsenal midfielder Danielle van de Donk was delighted with her match-winning contribution on Monday night, as her late goal from the bench secured a dramatic 1-0 Women’s Super League win over Manchester United.
The Gunners had struggled to create chances to breakdown a well-organised defence, with players and manager, Joe Montemurro, alike admitting after the game that tiredness played a part after their midweek trip to Fiorentina in the UEFA Women's Champions League.
But Van de Donk, starting on the bench as Jordan Nobbs made her first start for 302 days after an ACL injury, made the impact Montemurro had hoped for when he sent her on with 20 minutes to go, scoring the winning goal in the final minute of the 90.
“You know what? They did all the work and I took the glory so it can’t be any better,” she said after the game.
“To be fair I felt like it was coming. We had a lot of chances and I think it came after three shots on goal, Viv [Miedema] hit the post and I was like: ‘Come on guys, please put it in the goal!’
“Happily, it fell at my feet and it went in. It was a bit bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, in, so it was a bit lucky as well.
“It’s nice to have an impact when you come on,” Van de Donk continued.
“I felt like I gave the team more energy.
“I watched [United] play against [Manchester] City [last week]. I thought they played amazing then, in the first half, and then they got a bit tired so there were a few gaps. We analysed it and I think we did well today.
“One of our baselines is action-reaction and I think that was not that great and I think that was a bit of tiredness in the team, but we won so it doesn’t really matter.”
Van de Donk’s place on the bench was a surprise to many, with her one of those who didn’t play 90 minutes in midweek, brought off after 74 minutes in Thursday’s 4-0 win in Florence.
But the 28-year-old was happy to be given a break, saying: “You always need to be on your A game but sometimes you need rest.
“You benefit from it, but sometimes it’s hard mentally.
“I felt fine coming off the bench, but I don’t know how I would have felt playing 90 minutes.
“I could see the girls were getting a bit tired and sloppy sometimes.”
Arsenal will face the same short turnaround from Champions League to WSL next week, facing Brighton after their home leg against Fiorentina.
But the current champions of England will be happy to have six days between Monday’s result and their next fixture, which sees them travel to FA Women’s Championship side London City Lionesses in the League Cup on Sunday.