LFC WomenMatt Beard column: Chelsea situation was disappointing - but we'll look forward to cup football
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard looks forward to a week of cup football, starting with a Continental League Cup quarter-final against West Ham United.
I would like to start this week’s column by expressing our gratitude, as always, to our fantastic fans who made the journey to Chelsea at the weekend. We really appreciate your support so much and it never goes unnoticed by any of us.
I just can’t understand why anyone was put in that position. If the pitch isn’t playable, it’s not playable.
I was talking to Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon because their game got called off on Friday as Doncaster knew the weather wouldn’t get any better, so it stopped people travelling and saved people money.
We would have been there regardless because we always travel down the day before, but for our supporters they had a very early start and a long trip because of a crash on the motorway.
It’s not just about the football and the teams, it’s about the consideration of the fans, and whoever decided to put this game on made a massive error in judgement.
To be perfectly honest with you, ourselves and Chelsea are lucky that none of our players got injured, especially on the touchline in front of the dugouts. I did raise that concern when the covers came off, because there was no sun on that side of the pitch whatsoever, and you couldn’t even get your key into the ground like they do with the cricket.
At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be down to me and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes to go to the referee to say it was unsafe.
I’ve seen the statement from the FA, and ourselves and Chelsea got told at 9.30am on Sunday that the pitch wasn’t playable. Ultimately the decision to change that should never happen at any level of football, and I just think it’s made a bit of a mockery of the whole thing, to be perfectly honest.
Moving away from that, our focus has now turned to cup football, starting with a home game against West Ham on Wednesday night in the Continental League Cup (kick-off 7.30pm GMT).
Highlights: Liverpool FC Women 2-0 West Ham
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We are really looking forward to it. We wanted to get out of the group stage, which was vitally important, and we managed to do that.
Hopefully we can progress in this tournament and get to the semi-finals, which would be fantastic because it’s a competition we want to go as far as we can this season.
We know it’s going to be a tough game, especially when West Ham lost 3-0 to Everton on Merseyside on Sunday, and it’s always tough to play a team that has just been beaten.
If you look at the way we started last Sunday, for example, you could see that we had the bit between our teeth to put what happened the week before against Manchester United right. I know in the group stages of this competition I was able to use my whole squad and give players the minutes they needed, but we will be strong on Wednesday. We need the game time.
We’ve only played one competitive game in seven weeks and we’ve got Reading at home in a couple of weeks too, which is a big game for us in the Barclays Women’s Super League.
It will be the first chance for our supporters to welcome our new signings Fuka Nagano, Sofie Lundgaard and Miri Taylor – plus a Prenton Park return for Gemma Bonner.
Everyone has settled in really well and they have added good quality to the group.
It has brought standards up in training and the competition for places as well which keeps everyone honest. That’s something we wanted to do in this window – to make sure we keep driving our standards internally. Hopefully that should then translate onto the pitch.
Then on Sunday it’s off to Kingsmeadow again for the second weekend in a row when we face Chelsea in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup third round (kick-off 1pm).
It's a tough fixture but one we will relish. Anything can happen, we proved that when we played against Chelsea at the start of the season, so we know on our day we can beat anyone.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter