Montemurro takes responsibility for 'biggest setback' as Arsenal boss in Chelsea defeat

Joe Montemurro Arsenal
The Gunners were soundly beaten by their fellow title challengers and the manager held his hands up after switching their formation and set-up

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro took full responsibility for his side's 4-1 defeat to Chelsea, calling it the “biggest setback” in his two and a half years with the Gunners.

The Blues raced into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes of kick-off at the sold-out home of their Women’s Super League rivals and dominated the majority of the game.

The result means Arsenal surrendered top spot to Manchester City and Montemurro admitted his side's tactical issues were his fault, with Arsenal's set-up much narrower than normal.

Asked what the thinking was behind the changes, he said: “To press a little bit higher, to stop them playing through the middle and to give us more overloads in the middle of the park. It didn’t work - I take responsibility. 

“We decided to not play with a lot of width. We decided to play with a lot of inside to outside movement. It didn’t work.

“It’s always hard sitting back and seeing a team so powerful and putting us under a lot of pressure and creating chances, and the disappointing thing is we couldn’t even get the ball down and play.

“We couldn’t even get the ball down and put passes together, which is something that I haven’t seen in my two and a bit years that I’ve been here. I take responsibility for the set-up. “

Arsenal drop to second in the WSL table now, behind City on goal difference and with Chelsea one point behind them in third.

Montemurro now has the task of picking his players back up as they aim to regain pole position in the fight to retain their title.

“We look, we review, we see, and we get the energy levels up and the frame of mind there again and we keep going,” he said. “This team is resilient, it won’t give up, it’s had a setback.

“It’s probably the biggest setback I’ve had in my two and a bit years here so we can give them a little bit of leeway.

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“This is an amazing team, these are amazing players and you’re allowed a slip up every once in a while, you’re allowed to make mistakes.

“But if you look historically at this team, it is always one that comes back and will be there.

“We just need to keep it together and go forward from here.”