VfL Wolfsburg coach Ralf Kellermann had special praise for scorers Conny Pohlers and Martina Müller after their 2-0 win at Arsenal LFC, who Gilly Flaherty felt were not at their best.
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VfL Wolfsburg secured a 2-0 UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final first-leg win at Arsenal LFC and coach Ralf Kellermann praised the goalscoring knack of Conny Pohlers and the loyalty of Martina Müller after their strikes proved decisive. Arsenal defender Gilly Flaherty was disappointed with her own and the team's performance, but manager Shelley Kerr is staying positive.
Shelley Kerr, Arsenal manager
The positives are that we created a lot of chances. We created four or five chances that perhaps could have turned into goals. We need to be focused, disciplined and at our best in the away leg. But we are extremely positive as a club and that's what we'll do for the return leg.
We responded really well [to the early Wolfsburg goal]. It was against the run of play; we didn't start well in the game but we came into the game and for 20 minutes we were playing really well. They scored, which, when it's against the run of play is difficult to take, and it took us a bit of time to get back into the game. We know that we are capable of scoring a goal and if we can get an early goal there, anything can happen.
Wolfsburg were very disciplined, very organised and very physically strong – I thought today they were physically stronger than us. The crowd was 1,400 today; it was magnificent. And for the girls, they work as hard as possible trying to be professional – to get an attendance like we had today is really positive.
Gilly Flaherty, Arsenal defender
I'm disappointed personally with how I played. As a team, we played all right. We didn't get the ball down and play but when we did get the ball down and play we showed what we can do and how we can punish teams. But it was not good enough from us today. We all need to want to get on the ball, but that didn't happen – the options and support were not there. Now we need to forget the game, go to Germany next week and try to put it right.
They are a good team, but we can be better than them. But there's no point talking about it and not doing it: you have to do both. It's a shame we played really well on Tuesday against Birmingham and today we played like that. We know what we have got to do and we know we can do it and it's about showing the belief and going and doing it.
[Injured Kelly Smith and suspended defensive partner Ciara Grant] are two great players. [Jennifer] Beattie played fantastically today, but I haven't played alongside her this season; she was phenomenal. Ciara has the experience; you can't buy that. It will be good for her to be back and compete for places. Kelly, she's a leader, she's got a bit of flair and sometimes you need that. Hopefully she'll be fit and ready for next Sunday.
Ralf Kellermann, Wolfsburg coach
In the first 20 minutes, we were the better team. Conny Pohlers' goal sums her up: you don't see her and then she scores. At the start of the second half, we were playing too deep and Arsenal could have scored. But we scored a second goal, we were the better team, but the scoreline perhaps flatters us.
It's only half-time in the tie. We know Arsenal have a lot of quality. We'll approach it the same as the first 20 to 25 minutes today. I am confident the players won't be thinking about the final already; they know Arsenal are a good team who showed their quality today.
Conny Pohlers showed her quality today. Martina Müller has always been at the club; it's a dream for her to go to the final. She has had offers to leave, but she stayed loyal.
Conny Pohlers, Wolfsburg forward
I'm super happy and satisfied. We won 2-0, so we are in a good position for the second leg. [My goal] was an important moment in the match; it came out of nowhere. There is a lot of spirit [in our squad] and that's important. We're aware of our qualities and we're confident. We look at things game by game, but there's a good atmosphere.
Martina Müller, Wolfsburg forward
We scored two away goals and that was our objective. We didn't give away much in defence. We knew that Arsenal have quick players and they can apply a lot of pressure. You cannot stop them completely, but now we've scored two goals, so we can travel back home with a good feeling and concentrate on the Bundesliga next. We could have conceded as well, but luckily we didn't.