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Harvey salutes Arsenal 'character'

An "ecstatic" Laura Harvey reflected on the hard work that enabled Arsenal LFC to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit while there was relief for Everton's Mo Marley.

Kim Little (left) congratulates Julie Fleeting on scoring Arsenal's second goal
Kim Little (left) congratulates Julie Fleeting on scoring Arsenal's second goal ©Arsenal FC

Arsenal LFC manager Laura Harvey said "we had a lot of things to change" after losing the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 tie with Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 2-0 last week. She was left thrilled after a 4-1 win, sealed in added time, took them into the quarter-finals. That ensured an English double on Thursday as Everton also progressed with manager Mo Marley relieved her side withstood Brøndby IF in a freezing Widnes.

The pair go into the 19 November draw for the remainder of the competition with holders 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, FCR 2001 Duisburg, Olympique Lyonnais, FCF Juvisy Essonne, Zvezda-2005 and Linköpings FC and the quarter-finals will be played on 16/17 and 23/24 March.

Arsenal LFC 4-1 Rayo Vallecano de Madrid (agg: 4-3)
Laura Harvey, Arsenal manager
Ecstatic is probably the right word, and relieved. Last week we came away from Spain really disappointed at ourselves as we were by far the second best team and we had a lot of things to change for this week. To see that put into practice was really pleasing. I'd like it to not be so heart-wrenching, but we got there in the end. We'd worked on set pieces before last week's game. We set out a few points, that was one of them, but last week we just didn't do it. Both teams looked threatening from set pieces but we've got a presence. Our players stick their head on anything, they are brave and believe they can score from anything like that.

The seven days from last week to this week have been probably the most important, managerially, for me. You learn a lot about your players when the chips are down, they went out and proved they can dig a result out. It still wasn't an easy game, we knew that, and the character of the players shone through and that's what got us the result in the end.

José Rodriguez, Rayo coach
We were so close to doing it. I thank the players for giving everything in tough circumstances, we just couldn't manage it. The rain was maybe an influence but it was the same for both teams. Arsenal are bigger than us but our players did their best. I told them that if they keep playing like this, we will achieve many, many things. I thank all the supporters from Madrid who came to watch. I hope Rayo will grow along with Spanish women's football.

Everton 1-1 Brøndby IF (agg: 5-2)
Mo Marley, Everton manager
They came with a game plan and threw everything at us. I think, initially, it was about weathering the storm and trying to break their momentum. It was about not conceding, but also having that discipline and organisation for future rounds as well. We are a little bit disappointed in conceding the goal and I think it rocked us a bit.

The girls are inexperienced at this level and I think tonight it showed, but I do think that we got back into it in the second half and started to do the things that we are good at. I thought our work rate today was excellent but the quality wasn't very good. And that's down to nerves. I don't think the conditions helped anybody but they coped with it admirably. I thought we showed character to come back but I thought they were the better team today.