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Julie Chipchase was still looking on the positive side after her side's 5-0 defeat in the F.A.Women's Cup Final to Arsenal.
The Leeds United manager admitted that they were never able to recover after falling behind to a second minute goal. "We talked a lot about not conceding a goal in the first 15 minutes," said Julie. "Arsenal gained great confidence from the early goal and it knocked the stuffing out of us.
"After two goals in two minutes, you felt it was going to be a massive uphill climb from there."
Julie revealed that Leeds went into the game with a specific plan to stop the threat of Kelly Smith. "We felt that if we could man-mark Kelly Smith, it would help our game and Nicole Emmanuel did okay. But we had the problem of Rachel Yankey playing well on the left hand side. We tried to get tight to her but then other players stepped up to hurt us.
"The quality of our passing was not good enough and we couldn't get the ball to the strikers. This was the real disappointment for me as we never gave Karen Walker a chance to get into the game and she ended up being too isolated up front."
Karen Walker remained philosophical after her last major match before retirement. "It was frustrating," she admitted, "but sometimes games against Arsenal are like that. I felt that I didn't get anywhere near involved enough and I was picking up scraps. It was just the way the game panned out.
"It's not the way to go out but the chance to finish up with a Cup Final was fantastic. When the final whistle went, it suddenly dawned on me that this was the end of my playing career.
"I've enjoyed everything - I've had more than my share of things in my career. I've got no regrets and no further ambitions and if you can finish your career saying that, you're lucky."
Karen also had a positive message for her team mates. "For Leeds to get to a major cup final is progress," she said. "You have to learn lessons from this and take it on the chin, and grow stronger from it."
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