BIRMINGHAM City’s Ladies captain Karen Carney reviews the past fortnight that has seen her come off the treatment table and play a part in league and cup wins for the Blues Ladies and she also looks ahead to the FA Women’s Super League away games against Arsenal (played on Wednesday night) and Liverpool on Saturday.
THE topic of the fortnight has been response. We wanted to get a positive response after the previous two games which saw us lose in the Champions League away to Swedish side Tyreso FF and then in the FA Cup to Arsenal.
And the first game we faced Villa in the Continental Cup and beat them 2-0.
We wanted this really badly because a) we have to win all our games in this cup to get to the final and b) because it’s our local rivals. We could have scored more and been more clinical as we had the chances to do so but it was a great result and keeps us on track after beating Yeovil 2-1 away.
Again against Chelsea in the league on Sunday it was about getting the result, especially when we are at home – you’ve got to win all your home games if you can because in the league relegation comes into play.
To beat Chelsea with the money they have spent on players was a great result. You have to scrap and get the points when you can and that’s what we did. I think the first half we were in control popping it around and they couldn’t deal with our formation and we went into the break one goal up.
They changed their formation at half-time and we conceded off a set play but we continued our game and got a penalty, which unfortunately I missed. However, with this team nothing is a set back and even though some of the players are really young, they have a strong mentality and a professional outlook.
The team is disciplined, keeps its shape and will always create chances. It was a fantastic header by [Jo] Potter to make it 2-1 but I have to make a special mention about [Rebecca] Spencer who pulled off four or five great saves and kept us in it.
It’s not just those who are scoring that do the business, it’s the defence, goalkeeper and bench players and if we want to get momentum and go on a run it has to be all about the group and not individuals. That’s why we have had early successes this season and why we will have successes at the end of season, hopefully.
Our next game after Chelseas is Aresnal. There’s definitely a rivalry – we’re all friends off the pitch – but when we get on the pitch we want to win and on this occasion get the three points. We beat them in the Champions League and they won against us in the FA Cup.
It’s now who wants to win this more. We have had good results since then and they are coming off a loss [losing 2-0 away against Reading in the Continental Cup and 1-0 at home against Manchester City] so it will all be about confidence.
They will be looking for a response and we will be looking to continue our run.
On Saturday we play Liverpool. Obviously they are last year’s champions and deservedly so. I have been to watch them and they are in a strong position in second place in the league – they have been struggling with injuries the past two games but a couple of players are coming back unluckily for the game against us.
They have a great squad and will equally be looking for a good response at the 3G after recent results [lost one, drawn one] have not quite gone their way.
I still have my sciatica problem and struggled a little bit with it on Sunday. I think the break after Liverpool will be good for me. I should be in contention for the England games away against Belarus and Ukraine in the World Cup Qualifiers next month.
So, after Saturday’s game against Liverpool I will have some time to rest before the next league game, which is at home against Manchester City at the end of June.
Before that though we really want get two good results against Arsenal and Liverpool so we can go into the break with a strong league position after drawing one and winning one so far.
This would mean keeping the recent two-win run going and would also keep our hopes of playing in the Champions League again next season.
We would all love to be playing in another Champions League and to do that we need to have a really strong season and finish at least in the top two places.
We made the semi-finals this year and we would relish the chance to compete at that level again – so we are all well motivated.