Jonas Eidevall insists Arsenal can win Women’s Super League next season

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Jonas Eidevall has emphasised his belief that Arsenal can win the Women’s Super League next season after being appointed as their new head coach.

The Gunners announced on Monday that the 38-year-old Swede was joining from Rosengard as successor to Joe Montemurro, who stepped down at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Arsenal ended up nine points behind champions Chelsea and seven behind second-placed Manchester City in the WSL last season as they secured a Champions League return with third spot. They last won the division in 2019 under Montemurro, their 15th league title and first since 2012.

When asked at a press conference if he thought Arsenal could win the title next term, Eidevall said: “I do, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the job.

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“Of course I know it won’t be easy. But I think there is small things we need to change that can make big improvements, like our ability to be more resistant against high pressure, to be even more intense in our own pressing, for example.

“It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a challenge, but yes, I believe we can win.”

Regarding the Champions League – in which Chelsea were runners-up last season, making the first appearance of an English club in the final since Arsenal won it in 2007 – Eidevall added: “I think today if you have the ambition to win the WSL, it’s the same thing to have the ambition to win the Champions League, because you need to have the same level. That is something that has changed during the last seasons.

“If we do everything right, we have the possibility to do it, so let’s have that ambition.”

Eidevall managed men’s side Lunds BK before moving into women’s football by joining Rosengard, where he was assistant and then head coach, and oversaw them winning the Swedish league title in 2013 and 2014.

He subsequently had a brief spell as Henrik Larsson’s assistant at Helsingborg, then returned to Rosengard and guided them to a Swedish Cup triumph in 2018 and another league title a year later. The team, with whom Eidevall remains contracted until July 12, reached the quarter-finals of last season’s Champions League.

Asked about former Celtic, Barcelona, Manchester United and Sweden striker Larsson, Eidevall said: “It was amazing to work with Henrik. I took away a lot from working with him, and most from the way how you can handle yourself in adverse situations.”

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said in quotes on the club’s official website: “Jonas was the standout candidate of everybody that we considered for this role and we think he’s going to be a great fit.

“He will bring the style of football that Arsenal fans want to see. He’s someone who likes to play on the front foot, high-tempo, attractive, attacking football.”

Venkatesham also on Monday spoke about the ways in which the club are increasing support for their women’s team.

Eidevall worked with Henrik Larsson at Helsingborg (Lynne Cameron/PA).
Eidevall worked with Henrik Larsson at Helsingborg (Lynne Cameron/PA).

That includes creating a new women’s football building at the club’s London Colney training base, while the backroom staff supporting the team has been increased.

Venkatesham said: “We invest millions of pounds a year, every year, into women’s football. Next year we’re going to be investing much more than ever before, all with that ambition in mind, to give us the best chance of being successful on the pitch.”

He also said time had been spent “thinking about how we can bring a number of women’s games to the Emirates Stadium next season.”

Eidevall said at his press conference: “Whenever I spoke to any person in the club, the level of ambition for the women’s team was super high. Seeing how they are now adding resources with staff, facilities and so on, I think that’s great. That excites me.

“For me it would have been a warning sign coming into a club like this with this fantastic history in women’s football (if) they would have been satisfied with being where they are.

“Good organisations need to be ambitious, to review things, to turn every stone to always see how can we get better. The fact they do that is an assurance for me that we are moving in the right direction.”

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