Speaking ahead of Charlton Women’s clash against top of the table Aston Villa Women, manager Riteesh Mishra believes his team have what it takes to get a result and begin climbing up the FA Women’s Super League 2 table.
Going into the game off the back of a respectable performance against Chelsea Ladies, despite losing 4-0, Mishra describes how the experience of playing against a top club could help improve their league form this season.
“For the first half certainly, we competed with them. We had good organisation, we were aggressive, and the players showed there’s a lot of fight left in them. The players learnt that there’s still a long way to go in their careers, we’re still a bit away from Chelsea.
“We showed that we can compete better than we are at the moment in the league. It will have given us a lot of confidence going into this weekend.”
The Addicks faced Aston Villa at The Valley on week six of the WSL 2 and the Villans have remained unbeaten since then. Mishra explains the differences in the two teams since the reverse fixture.
“When it was at The Valley, we were expected to win the game really. Now we’re going into it as underdogs. We’ve got to fight, scrap and be really difficult to beat. We’ve got good quality on the ball. We’ll have to really concentrate and take our chances.” He said.
“They’re a very good team with very good players. We have something to prove against them. Everybody in the squad feels like we’re in a false position, our performances warrant a higher position in the league. There’s that to fight for.
“We know they’ll cause us problems; they want to keep up their unbeaten run and they’re favourites for promotion for a reason.”
With a tough couple of games on the horizon Charlton Women face Aston Villa Women and Sheffield United Women, who occupy the top two positions in the league. The manager believes that picking up points against the top sides can help start a strong run towards the end of the campaign.
“There are five or six teams in a scrap to stay up. A lot of them we play in March and April. If we can get points in the next two games against Villa and Sheffield United, the top two, then it puts us in a great position come March and April.
“The games in hand are good but sometimes you prefer the points. I think we’ve gone through a lot of suffering this season, being bottom for some time but I’m so confident in our group and a lot will change. As long as we aren’t there at the end of the season that’s what matters.
“We look more at the fixtures coming up than at the table. We have three more games than some of the teams around us. We’ve only played half our fixtures which is crazy, we’re in a better position than some people think.”
Incredibly, only the top three teams in the division have recorded fewer losses than the Addicks this season as the side sit on six draws and four losses. When reflecting on what needs to be done in order to turn our draws into losses, Mishra said:
“It’s a combination of staying concentrated for a full game and other things. We’ve been leading a lot this season and lost concentration; a few silly mistakes have cost us. It seems like when you’re down towards the bottom you don’t get the luck you need sometimes.
“I’ve told the players we have to keep working hard, we have to outwork teams. We’ve taken some of that from the men’s team and Lee, how they approach the game, so I think we’ll be just fine.”
Charlton Women currently sit 11th in the FA Women’s Super League 2 and travel to Aston Villa W.F.C. at 3pm on Sunday, February 2nd hoping to pick up their first win of the season.
Article by Nick Emms