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Women's Football News
Arsenal have continued their domination of the domestic scene during the past season and manager Vic Akers has been rewarded with the Manager of the Year award, as voted by his fellow managers in the league. Reflecting on a season which brought two trophies, Vic was full of praise for his players and told Women's Soccer Scene: "We've worked very hard this year. We missed out on the F.A.Cup - fair play to Everton who played better on the day and certainly wanted it more than we did which was disappointing - but we played well in the League Cup Final and justly won the League by six or seven points."
Arsenal also achieved the major distinction of going through the entire league season with an unbeaten record. "I think it's very important that we had zero losses," says Vic. "I'm pleased for the girls, the trophy of Manager of the Year is not about me but it's about what team I put out on the field and they have been fantastic for me. I can't thank them enough, the trophy is as much theirs as mine."
So, apart from outstanding ability, what is it that makes the Arsenal players so successful? "I think they don't get fed up of winning," Vic replies, "and it you do get fed up of winning things then you're not doing your job, and I try and instill that and make sure they want to win every game they go in for. I am a demanding manager and the girls will tell you that, but once the season is over and we've achieved what we've achieved, that says why I am what I am. Equally, I find it very gratifying that other managers have voted me as the Manager of the Year and I thank them as well."
Arsenal also had a good campaign in Europe, just missing out on the UEFA Women's Cup Final with a narrow defeat to Djurgardens in the semi finals and Vic has taken great encouragement from the season. "It was a fantastic achievement for the girls to make the semi finals and to think that two years ago, we got hammered in the semis it showed our limited experience at that point. But two years on, we've gone out to one of the best sides in Europe by the odd goal so that shows in itself that we are progressing in the right way."
With the standard of teams in the Premier League getting higher each season, is it getting more difficult for Arsenal to stay ahead of their rivals? "Domestically it's getting hard," admits Vic, "but that's why we're the club we are and we want to make that step forward as well. That's why I sign people like Julie Fleeting and Kelly Smith, to keep us that one step ahead in the race."
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