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Harvey proud of Arsenal Ladies after Champions League success

15:26 30 March 2011

Rachel Yankey, Arsenal

Rachel Yankey, Arsenal

PA Archive/Press Association Images

ARSENAL Ladies manager Laura Harvey believes her side’s ‘never say die’ attitude has been the key to success after a dramatic 2-2 draw with Linkoping sent the Gunners through to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

After the first leg ended in a 1-1 stalemate at Boreham Wood, Harvey’s side twice fell behind in Sweden, only to bounce back with goals from Rachel Yankey (pictured above) and Katie Chapman, with Chapman’s strike coming 11 minutes from time to put her side through on away goals.

The Gunners will now face French champions Lyon in the last four, in a repeat of the 2007/08 quarter-final, when Vic Akers’ side were beaten 3-2 on aggregate.

Arsenal travel to Lyon for the first leg, and Harvey believes her side are well equipped to beat anyone.

“The girls are great because we have created a real team sprit with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude. We’ve played ok over the two legs against the Swedes but we didn’t play anywhere near the level we can,” said Harvey.

“But we have gone through and it was the same when we played Rayo Vallecano and ZFK Masinac. We didn’t really play the way we can, but we’ve got the mentality that we are not going to go out easily and that has got us to the semi-finals.

“If we can match that with a good performance, I think we can hurt anybody. That is the mentality we will go into the semi-final with.”

Harvey reserved special praise for Chapman, whose late strike handed Arsenal the crucial second away goal.

“You can’t buy someone with the attitude that Kate has got,” said Harvey.

“She is such a fighter and epitomises what we are about at the moment. When you match that with the quality that she possesses, it makes her such a high-quality player and that has shone through in pretty much every game we have played.

“We are not a one-woman team by any means but Kate has had a big impact on our squad. Off the pitch, as well as on it, she is a great girl to have around. She pulls a lot of the younger ones through and shows them the right way to do things. It’s been great to get her back.”

And it was a perfect weekend for Harvey as her side also squeezed into the semi-finals of the FA Women’s Cup thanks to a 3-2 
victory against Sunderland.

Rachel Furness headed Sunderland into the lead, before Ellen White equalised two minutes after half-time. Julie Fleeting then headed home on 78 minutes to put Arsenal ahead.

Steph Bannon levelled the scores on 80 minutes, but two minutes into extra-time White drove in her second goal of the game to seal the win for Arsenal.

Harvey’s side will now play Barnet on Sunday April 24, with the venue yet to be decided.

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