BIRMINGHAM City Ladies captain Karen Carney reviews a busy fortnight which has seen the Blues girls in action in three competitions, whilst she also reveals her frustration at a current spell on the treatment table.
Champions League exit
“IT has been a hectic time for the team over the past fortnight, with of course the biggest headline-maker being our Champions League semi-final second leg in Sweden against Tyreso.
It goes without saying that the girls were disappointed to lose the second leg and the tie 3-0, but we can hold our heads high for reaching the last four of such a prestigious competition and for doing both the city and the country proud.
We knew we would face a stern test in Sweden against a team who have been assembled at a far, far greater cost than ourselves, but we stuck at the task well, defended very well as a team and the tie was still level with half an hour to go.
However, they really turned on the style on their own turf – well 3G pitch to be precise of which I am not the biggest fan – and in the end their greater quality told.
Tyreso invest between £200,000 to £300,000 a year to try and win this competition and that is so far off our radar it’s untrue, but I would like to think we earned their respect and that of plenty of others along the way.”
Continental Cup campaign starts with a victory
“OUR Continental Cup fixtures began with a difficult fixture at Yeovil Town, who are a division below us in the Women’s Super League, but we knew we faced a tough test down there in midweek on a difficult playing surface and we were very pleased to earn a 2-1 victory.
This is a regionalised competition played on a league basis initially and it can be difficult to qualify for the latter stages if you lose even one group game, so we knew how vital it was to secure a victory.
The pressure was on us as the favourites but we rose to the challenge well and goals from Katie Wilkinson and Emily Westwood saw us home.
The win sets us perfectly for this coming Tuesday’s away tie against Aston Villa in the same competition. Again, Villa are in the division below us, but they’ll be fired up to beat us, just as we are to defeat them, so it should be a cracking game.
Our games against Villa in the past have always been feisty affairs and I cannot see this one being any different, so it would be great to see as many Blues fans as possible cheering us on at Sutton Coldfield Town.”
FA Cup defeat
“UNFORTUNATELY Arsenal exacted some revenge on us for their Champions League quarter-final exit by defeating us 2-1 at Solihull in the last eight of the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday.
I must be honest and say that it looked as if we had a bit of a Champions League hangover as we were tired as a team and didn’t press Arsenal off the ball, which was what won us the Champions League tie against them.
“They played the better football and deserved to win, especially after coming from behind after Remi Allen put us ahead.
It wasn’t a great day for me as Sunday saw my long-standing sciatica injury get worse which ruled me out of this week’s (Thursday) England Women’s 2015 World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.”
Remi’s England chance
“I HATE being injured, it really is the worse thing for me as a footballer, as I just love playing.
“However, my replacement in the England squad is my Blues team-mate – midfielder Remi Allen – who really deserves her chance and I am delighted she has received her first senior call-up.
“She has been banging the goals in lately and is full of confidence and hopefully Remi and the team can continue our 100 per cent start to the qualifying campaign.
“I am receiving regular treatment for my sciatica and hopefully that and the required rest should see me back playing very soon, especially with a big league game coming up against much-fancied Chelsea at Solihull a week on Sunday.”