Matt Beard column: This league is unforgiving - let's draw a line under Man Utd defeat

LFC WomenMatt Beard column: This league is unforgiving - let's draw a line under Man Utd defeat

Published 19th January 2023

In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard reflects on the hard lessons learned during last weekend's loss to Manchester United, and previews Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

Last Sunday was obviously a very disappointing day for us and tough to take for the players, staff and our supporters.

I said after the game we were embarrassed and I apologised to our fans, because with the standards we’ve set ourselves this year it just wasn’t good enough.

It’s probably one performance, in a year-and-a-half of good performances, that just wasn’t there. For whatever reason from time to time you get these odd freak results, or something like this happens.

Apart from two of the goals we conceded, I think we caused our own problems by not defending the crosses and not stopping them.

I’ve said this time and time again to the group, against these top teams you get punished in those situations.

It’s not nice, especially with the result against one of our closest rivals, so we have to draw a line under it. We have looked at it and reviewed it and it’s now about, one: reacting, and two: getting back to the performance levels that we are used to.

We now prepare for Chelsea away on Sunday in our next game in the Barclays Women's Super League and we know what is required from us (12.30pm GMT at Kingsmeadow, live on BBC).

Highlights: Liverpool FC Women 2-1 Chelsea

I say this all the time, but there really aren't any easy games in this division – Leicester City’s win over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend proves that.

From my perspective, we beat Chelsea in our opening game of the season, so I’m sure that they will obviously want to put that right. We just need to put in the performance levels that I know we can put in.

Taking last Sunday out of the equation, we have given a good account of ourselves, we have grown in confidence and we have done well, so I’m not going to let one afternoon become a big issue.

It’s one performance where we haven’t turned up in probably 30-odd games, so we’ve just got to make sure now we respond in the right way and put ourselves in a good frame of mind going into this weekend's game.

Whether you are playing Manchester United, Brighton, Reading or Chelsea, you’ve got to turn up and perform because this league is unforgiving.

There’s no doubt that we will learn from Sunday but it shouldn’t be happening, so we’ve got to make sure we are defensively switched on, we are resolute and we’ve got to make sure we don’t turn the ball over in areas where we can be hurt. And finally, we’ve got to trust ourselves with the ball.

For me, it’s just really believing in ourselves and each other and knowing that we are a good team.

We just need to relax and look after the ball. I know that’s easier said than done when you’ve got players pressing and putting you under pressure, but we need to keep the ball and use it well.

Hopefully we will have Katie Stengel available to return at Chelsea, and we will give her as much time as we possibly can to see whether she can play.

We had a scan, which gave us the all clear, but she wasn’t pain-free, so fingers crossed Katie will be available because she is an important player for us.

I was absolutely delighted to get another new signing through our door in Fuka Nagano.

We are just waiting on international clearance for her, but I’m hoping it will arrive in time for her to be available for Chelsea.

Fuka has settled in well and we are really excited by her because she is a very technically gifted player.

Sofie Lundgaard has settled in well, too. We are pleased with the way she has trained.

So, we are moving in the right direction. Thank you for your continued support as always.

YNWA,

Matt

Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter

Published 19th January 2023