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Arsenal LFC recorded their record European win in their 75th continental fixture, the first team to reach that mark, as they defeated WFC SSHVSM Kairat 11-1 to complete an 18-2 aggregate UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 victory and set up a tie next month with Glasgow City FC.
Manager Shelley Kerr hailed four-goal Danielle Carter and the other young players that have stepped up in this tie, and hinted player-assistant coach Kelly Smith could be on the pitch in the last 16. Carter, capping her breakthrough year, thanked Kim Little for laying off her fourth when the Scottish international was on a hat-trick herself. Little, who did complete a treble to move into eighth on the competition's all-time scorers list ahead of Marta and Patrizia Panico, is targetting final victory in Lisbon after Arsenal failed to qualify for the 2014/15 edition via the FA Women's Super League.
Shelley Kerr, Arsenal manager
It was quite an open game for us in terms of attack so we tried a couple of things in the second half as well – we changed the shape a little bit. I thought we scored some fantastic goals – we were dominant in the game, some good individual performances. But overall we are just delighted to get through to the last 16. Obviously, I know a lot about Glasgow City, as everyone will know that – everyone's been talking about that.
As a squad and as a club we've done really well. We've won domestically the [FA Women's Cup and FA Women's Super League Cup] double, and we've only lost one game domestically all season. Recently we've been in fantastic form and over the two legs we've shown that. Hopefully we will continue that into the next round of the competition.
Since the summer, Dan [Carter]'s been on devastating form. She's playing down the middle and she's really enjoying it. All young players when they get a little bit of confidence... you can see from how she's playing her game that she's really loving her football now.
In the away tie that was Caroline [Weir]'s first taste of Champions League football. She is only 18, and what a debut goal to score in the Champions League – fantastic. I've known her since she was a little kid and I knew she was capable of that so I am just delighted for her.
[On bringing in young players like Jade Bailey and Freda Ayisi] That's important. We've restructured at the club and it is important we invest in the youth players and blend them in at the right time. It is great to see them you have Emma Mitchell, only 21, Jordan [Nobbs] a similar age, so we have lots of players who are really young, but we do need experience as well. You can't be successful when you don't have the right mix.
[Smith] is fantastic for me as a support mechanism in a coaching role. She's fantastic for the players, someone with her talent and experience – she gives the players lots of advice. She's been training this week which is fantastic news for us as a club. She's played 30 minutes this season for us, arguably one of the best players in Europe, so we've missed her on the pitch but in terms of myself I'm glad she's sitting alongside me. But it's fantastic news she's back in training and who knows, she may make the next round...
Kim Little, Arsenal midfielder
It was disappointing to concede two but overall it was pretty comfortable – two victories, we are just glad to be in the last 16. It's nice to get on the scoresheet and for us to win. It will be good to only have a short flight up to Glasgow.
[On why she laid off to Carter for her fourth goal when Little was on a hat-trick] I forgot! And she said: "Why did you pass?" I said: "I didn't know." But it was nice to get the hat-trick in the end.
Because we didn't win the league it's not been a successful season as previously but we are still pleased to have won two cups, to be unbeaten in this half of the season so we just hope to continue that into these last two games in the Champions League last 16. The only way we can qualify now is through winning the Champions League so that's what we want.
Danielle Carter, Arsenal forward
It was a professional performance from us. We were 7-1 up but we didn't get too complacent. We always want to score goals at Arsenal and we had a good team performance.
[On whether she had scored many headed goals before the two in this game] Not many! That's why everyone was a bit shocked, but I have been working on it so it is nice for it to play off in games like this.
[On Little's pass for her fourth] I don't know why she passed to me but I was just grateful to her so I could get my fourth. But that that sums Kim up – she is a professional player, always around to help the team get goals.
[On breaking into the starting XI and the England squad] I've been working hard prior to getting these goals and playing well. It shows hard work pays off and I've just got to continue to do that.
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