I thought our focus was good throughout, we take a lot of heart from the performanceCarla Ward
Blues defended superbly throughout the game but were undone by Arsenal’s movement and quality; traits that Ward praised the visitors for.
Caitlin Foord, Jill Roord and Kim Little gave the hosts all three points. Hannah Hampton saved a Little penalty in the first-half and made 11 saves in the match.
Despite the defeat, Head Coach Ward was pleased with the team’s performance throughout the game.
She said: “We wanted to try and make it ugly for them. We wanted to be compact defensively and we wanted to silence the crowd that was here.
“It was a case of staying focused and sticking together, I am proud of the players, I told them when I first arrived that if they give it their all, I’ll take the result.”
She also recognised the work of Joe Montemurro and the squad he has built at Arsenal.
“We have to realise that we were against world class opposition,” Ward continued. “Joe has done a fantastic job here.
“Arsenal were outstanding, probably the best team we’ve played all season.
“I thought our focus was good throughout, we take a lot of heart from the performance.”
For large periods of the game, Arsenal were in the ascendancy but ‘keeper Hampton and the whole team were resilient.
Ward was full of praise for the work that Hampton does and, in particular, her performance against the Gunners.
She explained: “Hannah was fascinating, she made eleven saves. She was disappointed after the game because she conceded three, but I told her she was outstanding.
“I said to her Phil's [Neville] in the stands watching you and he’s pleased with that, she just gets better and better and is a real asset to the team.
Blues now have three games before Christmas with Leicester on Wednesday followed by Everton and Man City.
“Wednesday gives us a chance to get some fresh legs out there. The results in these three games [Arsenal, Everton and Man City] isn’t important, but the performance is.”