Search

Arsenal Ladies aim to give departing manager a winning send-off in FA Cup final against Everton

12:15 29 May 2014

Goalkeeper Emma Byrne, Arsenal.

Goalkeeper Emma Byrne, Arsenal.

EMPICS Sport

Goalkeeper Emma Byrne says Arsenal are determined to retain the FA Women’s Cup this weekend and give departing manager Shelley Kerr a triumphant send-off.

Sunday’s final against Everton in Milton Keynes (kick-off 4.30pm) will be Kerr’s last game in charge of the Gunners after she announced her resignation earlier this week.

And long-serving Byrne, who has won seven FA Cups during her time as Arsenal’s number one, believes the manager’s exit will give the players extra motivation as they bid to turn around their poor start to the season.

The Gunners are bottom of the Women’s Super League after taking just a point from their first four games and Byrne admitted: “We’re desperate to win and we’re going to put things right.

“We’ve been struggling for a while and I think Shelley herself feels she’s at a dead end. It was a heartbreaking decision for her to make and we’re still trying to get our heads around it.

“But we have to look towards the final and hopefully we can win it for Shelley as well as the club. You always want to finish things on a good note and, as it’s Shelley’s last game, we want to win for her.

“And we also need to do it for ourselves because, unless you’re in the Champions League final, this is the biggest day of the season. This club has had a long history with the FA Cup and we want to retain it.

“We’re only a few games into the league and we’ve had a bad start – we haven’t been playing well. But we’re not panicking about that at all as we know it can change.

“If we win against Everton I think it’ll be a jump-start to our season and no-one should write us off, because we will turn it around and hopefully we will do it on Sunday.”

Like Arsenal, the Merseyside club are struggling in the league and sit just a point ahead of their opponents, but an FA Cup success could galvanise their campaign.

The Toffees have lifted the trophy once before, when they beat Arsenal 3-2 after extra time in the 2010 final and Byrne confesses that the result still rankles with her.

“It’s funny because it’s mainly the losses I remember, of all the games we’ve played,” said the 34-year-old. “I’ve won a lot of FA Cup finals but I remember the losses more than the wins.

“That game [four years ago] stands out and it’s another motivation to beat Everton. They took the cup from us that time with a late goal and we certainly didn’t like that feeling.

“A lot of this group of players haven’t seen an FA Cup final before, so they’ll be hungry for it. For this to be a bottom of the table clash does seem really weird, but every final is different.

“This is a game we strongly believe we can win and we also know we need to win, so it’s a completely different mindset going into this final from any other.”

Kerr, who has been in charge for less than 18 months, decided to quit after Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at home to Bristol Academy on Sunday – their third straight league reverse.

The Gunners also failed to find the net in any of those games – a curious statistic given that they scored five times in their FA Cup semi-final success against Chelsea.

But Byrne feels a return to clean sheets is the key to an improvement at the other end of the field.

“I think we need to go back to basics with defending,” added the Gunners keeper. “It does start with us. I’ll always look at us as a unit before I look at anyone else.

“There have been a few problems there we need to iron out. We need to keep a clean sheet and, once the confidence builds from there it will go throughout the team to the forwards.”

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 19:33
Tottenham's Harry Kane. Picture: PA

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino expects Harry Kane to get even better as the striker’s superb season continued with two goals at West Brom.

Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his second-half penalty - his second goal of the game and 21st of the season

Harry Kane struck his 19th and 20th goals of the season as Tottenham earned their biggest away win under Mauricio Pochettino, triumphing 3-0 away at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.

Fri, 12:00
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis

Tottenham visit Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns tomorrow. Charlie Dear gives you the lowdown on the home team as they get used to life under their new manager.

Thu, 23:33
Highbury Korfball Club's Matthew Dodds. Pic: Richard Hayward

Highbury Korfball Club produced a dominant display, beating Croydon II 19-9 in the London Regional League to put last week’s defeat behind them.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder