Eidevall joined Arsenal in June
Jonas Eidevall has had a near perfect start to life in north London.
A thoughtful manager with a clear ambition, the 38-year-old has made a serious impression in his short spell in the Women’s Super League.
Having arrived from Rosengard in June, in only four months the Swede has transformed Arsenal into a high-energy, front-footed and free-scoring side – a philosophy that has resulted in a 100% start to the WSL season as the Gunners top the league with a maximum 12 points.
Eidevall spoke about the subject as part of a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport, during which he also discussed his early memories of the game, his admiration for his predecessor Joe Montemurro and his hopes of regaining Arsenal’s position at the top of women’s football.
‘I needed somewhere to channel my passion’
Eidevall’s coaching career started as a 23-year-old when he became an assistant at Swedish men’s team Lund. He went on to manage the side for more than three years and then went on to win numerous league titles with Rosengard.
“I had dreams of being a great player but I wasn’t talented enough.
“I didn’t have enough direction and I needed somewhere to channel my passion for the game. I realised I was better at coaching than the other things.
“I didn’t know much about the game when I first started coaching, but I listened, learned and invested a lot of trust in people.
“I love it because I get to work with people. I like to understand people and help them. If you invest confidence in a person, they will give you something back.”
‘You win gold but silver is free’
Up until Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to reigning champions Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League, Eidevall – who is from Boras in the south of Sweden – had won every game as Gunners boss.
“Where I come from, winning is what drives you.
“There’s a saying in my city: ‘you win gold but silver you get for free.’ Sometimes that can be a burden because winning is therefore the only thing that you demand from yourself, but they’re all principles that I am trying to bring to Arsenal.
“There are never any guarantees but if you can look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say you’ve given your all to be the best, no one can ask for anything more.”
‘I’m grateful to Joe Montemurro’
Eidevall replaced Joe Montemurro, who had spent just short of four years at Arsenal and is now Juventus boss.
“I actually had the pleasure of meeting Joe when he was in Sweden coaching – I was so impressed with him.
“For me to work with a team that he has worked with for so long, I feel very privileged.
“The way he implemented his practices, the group he created and how he educated the players laid a great foundation.”
‘Ambitious’ Arsenal on the right path
Eidevall oversaw a busy summer of transfers and witnessed a number of new faces arrive in north London, including England striker Nikita Parris and USA star Tobin Heath.
“The ambition was a huge factor in me coming here as well as the fact the club had a lot of motivation for change.
“The board want to invest and regain the position that it has held historically, that attracted me to the club.
“We’ve made some great signings, we have a great squad. But one of the most important things is that we also kept a lot of players from last season.
“In football it’s really easy to focus on new players coming in, but sometimes the best signings for clubs are to keep the players that are already performing at a high level in that environment.”
‘We need to beat the top teams to win trophies’
Arsenal are unbeaten in domestic competitions so far this season
With four wins from four the Gunners have made a perfect start to the new WSL campaign, producing 16 goals and already beating champions Chelsea.
“I want my Arsenal team to be seen as a really, really good team.
“I want our pressing to be more intense and aggressive and I want to be able to shift momentum when we’re playing against the top teams.
“Arsenal played a lot of good football last season, but they didn’t perform to their best against the best teams like Chelsea and Manchester City. If you want to win trophies, you need to do that against the best teams.”