Karen Hills proud of hard-working Spurs after play-off triumph

After their FA WPL play-off final win over Blackburn Rovers, VAVEL spoke to Tottenham Hotspur boss, Karen Hills about her quadruple-winning team.

Focus is key

After a dominant performance at The Valley, Spurs saw a fruitful season culminate with a hard-earned spot in WSL 2 for next season. Coming up against an unbeaten Rovers side the Southern champions were able to turn on the style and show their mettle,

I thought it was a physical game but I thought we absolutely nailed our game plan, we knew exactly what was expected, the girls have been working extremely hard; we’ve had four training sessions this week. A lot of walk-throughs and recovery and doing everything we can to keep the girls focused, keeping them together.

Hills continued, “Coming here today, the belief from the girls in the changing room before they came out; you could feel the energy and that something special was going to be created here today. We will always give 110%, you put anyone against us and we’ll always give it our all.

Picking up their fourth honours of the year, Spurs looked well at home at The Valley, the team that plays most of their domestic football at Cheshunt FC nonplussed by the occasion, the focus of the team far greater than you’d possibly expect given their level of professionalism,

The fitness levels of the girls today were incredible, the focus was fantastic throughout, we’ve been in a couple of really big games this season so the anxiety of that pressure, I thought they dealt will very, very well today and they kept going and we’re just very happy to get all three of those goals and they were some quality, quality goals.”

Well used to big occasions by now, the Spurs trophy cabinet fast filling-up, Hills sees not just one season of success but the product of years of hard work put in on and off the pitch, everyone at the club working towards a greater goal,

Today, they’ve set their stall out, it’s just them, the amount of hard work that they put in on the training field… and obviously, credit to the coaching team; the amount of hours that we do behind the scenes to get the girls prepared. It’s all come together, it’s not luck and it wasn’t a fluke this year, it’s been a work in progress over the last three or four years and for it all to come together is testament to their belief in themselves and the club.

A different kind of derby

Though the Lilywhites have never played in the WSL before they gained a degree of publicity earlier in the year when they were drawn against WSL 1 side, Arsenal in the FA Cup. For those unfamiliar with the tiers in women’s football in England, there might be nothing to separate the two sides who contested their own “North London Derby” and the 10-0 scoreline in favour of the Gunners was another win for the more successful of the two.

However, there was far more than Arsenal vs. Tottenham, or Wenger vs. Pochettino, at the time of the match, Arsenal Ladies were not just the most successful team in the history of the Women’s FA Cup and indeed one of the most successful in women’s football in England but were one of the few in the UK who could (and do) offer their players full-professional contracts and status, the team replete with international stars who would not be out of place at any major tournament. Conversely, Hills’ side are but amateurs, though football is far more than just a hobby for them, it’s by no means a way of making a living, their footballing lives a world away from that of the opposition they faced in Borehamwood,

The girls train three times a week, some of them can get to the sessions three times a week but some can only get to one depending on their shifts. It’s been hard to manage because they haven’t been able to give up their jobs; they’re all working full time and the commitment is only going to be greater at the next level. But the girls are ready for it and they deserve the next challenge.

Whilst Tottenham won’t be coming up against Arsenal or any other professional side in WSL 2, they will find a different kind of opponent to what they’ve been used to in the WPL, but Hills’ is sure her side will be ready for the challenge,

There’s a lot of preparation that’s going to be going on behind the scenes, we’re in a fantastic position, the club are fully supportive of what we’re trying to achieve and at the end of the day, the girls are fully deserving of everything they get. So now the hard work really starts, off the field and then back onto the field, we’re just going to be working exceptionally hard over the next couple of months and then we’ll look forward into being in another league.”