Eidevall admits coaching during Covid has been stressful but is excited by new Arsenal signing Rafaelle

JONAS EIDEVALL says coaching during the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of his most ‘stressful’ experiences on the job.

The Arsenal chief has seen two games called off in the space of a month with coronavirus causing havoc across the sporting schedule.

Games against Brighton on December 20 and Reading on January 16 were both called off due to Covid issues.

Eidevall, 38, whose team are top of the WSL, was speaking ahead of the Gunners’ Conti Cup quarters clash with Manchester United at Meadow Park.

The Arsenal boss said: “Being a coach during Covid has definitely been the most stressful thing for me personally.

“It makes it so much harder with the human connection and having to think about the distancing and doing the meetings digitally instead of in person.

“That's an obvious feeling I think, for so many coaches, but we have to remember it's the same for everyone so it's not an excuse to not get results."

Arsenal, who are yet to register their first win of the year, have had a busy January transfer window.

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The club have welcomed three new arrivals in the past five days.

Former Hoffenheim defender Laura Wienrother, 23, was unveiled as a Gunner on Monday – three days after the team confirmed the signing of striker Stina Blackstenius.

And Rafaelle Souza, 30, became the first Brazilian to join the side with the league leaders announcing the signing of the versatile centre-back earlier today.

The Brazil star, who has 33 international caps, joined the WSL leaders after the expiration of her contract with Chinese side Changchun Zhuoyue.

Her arrival was greeted with excitement by her compatriot and Gunners Prem ace Gabriel Martinelli who shared a welcome message via his Twitter account.

On how he sees Rafaelle fitting into Arsenal’s defence, Eidevall said: “I’m very excited to work with her.

“It was a big deal for us to find a left-footed central defender.

“I think it helps a lot with the angles especially against teams pressing you a little bit higher.

“It also helps there are Swedish coaches around the (Brazilian) women's national team.

“They're also working with defensive positional principles that are very similar to the ones that we practice here at Arsenal.”

Arsenal’s league cup duel with Manchester United could see possible debuts for Blackstenius and Weinrother.

And Leah Williamson and Tobin Heath could be set for returns to action following their injury spells.

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