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Arsenal star Danielle van de Donk Q&A: Gunners fans are amazing

PUBLISHED: 18:56 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:56 10 January 2019

Danielle van de Donk of Arsenal (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Danielle van de Donk of Arsenal (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Arsenal Women’s team reached the semi-finals of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup on Wednesday evening after beating Birmingham City Women 2-1 in a tough match at Meadow Park. Read on for Layth Yousif’s exclusive interview with goalscoring hero Danielle van de Donk.

Arsenal star Danielle Van de Donk. PAArsenal star Danielle Van de Donk. PA

A 61st minute goal from the Blues’ Lucy Skinner was cancelled out by an equaliser six minutes from time from Dutch international star van de Donk before a late winner from Vivianne Miedema sealed a dramatic victory.

The Gunners were kept in the game through an excellent first half penalty save by Gunners keeper Sari can Veenendaal and capitalised on her spot-kick heroics by clinching the tie late on.

Did you feel Birmingham would keep their intensity or did you think it would drop and you’d be able to capitalise?

Arsenal Women's Danielle Van De Donk (left) and Chelsea Ladies' Katie Chapman (right) battle for the ball during the 2018 Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley. PAArsenal Women's Danielle Van De Donk (left) and Chelsea Ladies' Katie Chapman (right) battle for the ball during the 2018 Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley. PA

No, I think they are one of the toughest teams we have played, they’re very good, they always keep going. They’ve got Lucy [Skinner] who is basically their main player, who is the playmaker. A playmaker as a No6 – you don’t see that often but that’s how they play. They do a lot on the counter and they are always very dangerous and they were again against us. We were just lucky we scored twice in a very short time.

How were your nerves going into the final 10 minutes at 1-0 down?

Arsenal Ladies' Louise Quinn (left) and Danielle van de Donk challenge Manchester City Women's Nadia Nadim (right) during the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final. PAArsenal Ladies' Louise Quinn (left) and Danielle van de Donk challenge Manchester City Women's Nadia Nadim (right) during the 2018 Continental Tyres Cup Final. PA

I was actually alright to be honest, we scored the equaliser to make it 1-1 and we said we’re going to win this in 90 minutes or extra time, and eventually we did, we knew it would come.

We’ve got such a good squad this year and it all just comes together. I knew we were going to win. We always fight until the end and we did again so I’m just really proud of this team.

Arsenal star Danielle van de Donk playing for the Netherlands. PAArsenal star Danielle van de Donk playing for the Netherlands. PA

How did the dramatic turnaround feel at the end?

Yes it was amazing. When we scored the equaliser we just said to each other we’re going to do this in the 90 minutes we don’t want penalties or anything so I’m just happy we did it.

What do you put a patchy first-half team performance down to?

I think we were all a bit tired. We don’t have a large squad anymore so we have to use the players that we have at the moment. That means they have a lot of minutes in their legs and I think you could see it was a bit sloppy. I blame it on that we were tired and I hope it’s better on Sunday against Chelsea.

What did boss Joe Montemurro say at half-time?

He was quite positive actually, he just said he last ball had to be better, we tried to go from our own half all the way to the back line and the final ball didn’t always reach.

I thought we did ok, we gave them a lot of space down the sides, we knew they were going to drop the two sixes very deep and they got the ball and just spread it all the time which was ok but we could have managed that a bit better.

With such a late victory are you confident Arsenal’s name could be on the cup?

Yes I hope so. With this team we trust each other and hope we don’t fade in any game. We look now to Chelsea and then we go to the next game and that’s why we do it. We’ve got that winning feeling and we want to keep it going.

Games against Chelsea and Manchester City and the big clubs are the ones you look forward to more than any. They are the main teams for me to play against. When I go away with the national team you just look forward to the biggest games.

What does it mean to play for Arsenal at Borehamwood?

It’s amazing. We’ve got a little group who always sit in the corner of the stand and they are always singing and cheering along. As soon as they scored the first goal they just kept singing ‘Arsenal Arsenal’ so it just gives you such a boost and keeps you going and you want to do it for them as well so I’m very happy with them.

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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