Skinner: Our performance against Manchester City was pleasing ...

Rehanne Skinner said that there are plenty of positives for West Ham United women’s team to take from their opening Barclays Women’s Super League performance. 

Manchester City - Figure 1
Photo West Ham United F.C.

The Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City at Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday afternoon but produced a spirited performance against a side that finished fourth in the WSL standings last term. 

Second half goals from Lauren Hemp and Jill Roord were sandwiched either side of a Mackenzie Arnold penalty save, with the new West Ham United captain denying Chloe Kelly from the spot. 

And after Leila Ouahabi was sent off for a challenge on Emma Harries, the Irons pushed hard to get back into the game. 

Riko Ueki, who was making her debut in Claret & Blue, and Viviane Asseyi both went close on a number of occasions, but the Irons couldn’t find a goal and fell to defeat. 

Skinner spoke of the positives the team can take from the performance, the lessons that can be learned and the support from the fans…

I was really pleased with the performance overall

When you think about the time that we’ve actually had together and the way that we’re evolving the style of play, it’s going to take a little bit of time to get us to where we want to be. 

For large parts of the game today, we managed a lot of their threats. Whilst you’re not going to expect us to dominate possession against Man City, I thought we did really well in limiting their chances and worked really hard out of possession. 

We were trying to play and have the confidence on the ball I really want us to have, and we created some good chances from that as well. I thought we really went for it in the last 15 minutes of the game, the players showed that they’ve got the desire and the attitude to be fearless and keep working until the end to try and create a chance. 

We’ve got to be brave in those situations and try and have a go to get back in the game. We’ve got to be that confident going into games all the time now to try and win. 

Working hard for the badge is non-negotiable

Whenever we play, we want to make sure that we’re working really hard right until the end, keeping the energy up and that’s what our fans should expect from us as a minimum. 

The other part of that is giving them a game of football that they’re really pleased to see, that they want to watch how creative we are with the ball and that we’re able to create chances. 

At times, we got pinned a little bit today defensively but when we broke out, I thought we created some good chances from that. It’s going to take us a little bit of time to play the way that we want to consistently; we’re building what we want to look like, and we will keep on working to improve and get better.

We will learn from the first goal that we conceded today

We had a chance ourselves just before that, and if that chance is taken then it changes the game. We knew how to deal with that tactically, but we just didn’t quite get the roles right within those moments, but that’s all part of learning. 

We’ll go into the next game knowing how to manage those moments differently, and certainly, the players knew immediately. It was disappointing, but the most important thing is that we never gave up in those moments. We kept on fighting and we tried to get ourselves back in the game. 

Riko is a really bright and intelligent player

Technically, she is superb too. She will definitely score us goals this season, without a shadow of a doubt. For her game in this league, I thought she gave a really good account of herself, because it is an adjustment.

The more games she gets, the more effective she is going to be for us. 

We’ve got quality players that can play through teams

A big thing for us is that we’re not a back to front team, we’ve got quality players that can play though. We need to be good at recognising when there is space in behind and when there is space in between. 

So the players are going to mix up the decision making and I fully trust that they will make good decisions around that. We want to dominate possession as often as we can, and that takes a little bit of time and confidence to build with that. 

We’re always really grateful for the support that our fans give us

That’s what we all do this for, we want to put on a good performance, and we want to make sure that we play in a certain way.

 We always value their support because it spurs us on in those moments where we need it, and we could certainly hear them today helping us to really keep pushing all the way through until the end.

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