Following their last-gasp loss at the hands of Chelsea, VAVEL spoke to Birmingham City defender Aoife Mannion about the match and the team’s progression this season.
In a classic game of two-halves, Birmingham struggled to put their best foot forward in the first half before coming out a team a new after the break.
“I thought that our performance wasn’t as good as it could have been in the first half, we wanted to dominate the ball better and we were disappointed to come in at half time with the way things were. But I thought we put on a much better performance in the second half but again were disappointed with the way things went.”
Despite the league standings and aptitude of Chelsea’s attack, Mannion was fast to diminish any ideas that the Blues had some into the match fearsome of the likes of Fran Kirby but rather focus on their own game.
“There’s no need to psych yourself up, I train… everyone on this team trains everyday, this is just another match.”
Not hitting the right notes in the first half, the visiting team may have considered themselves fortunate to only be one goal down, the second half a reversal of the first that saw the side from the Midlands dictate the match. Implementing a more attacking style since his installation as coach, Marc Skinner’s words at the half lifted his side to get them back into the clash.
“We needed to be braver to get on the ball and have the confidence to pass and move and to really want to dominate possession and dominate the game, and I felt that we did that for large portions of the match.”
After relying on defensive strength under their former boss, Birmingham haven’t always had the best of it this season as the team has learnt to adapt but with results on the up there is no question that firm foundations have been laid for next season.
“Buying into what Marc says, he wants us to play an attacking-based possession game and I think you can see with our results lately that’s come into fruition.”
Not looking to go out and win the league this year, the first full season under Skinner has been about growing and staying true to themselves.
“For us, it’s about putting in the right performance in the right way. We’ve got a style of play that we want to play so it’s not so important about the results and where we are in the table as much as about our values and the way we want to play.”
Dealt a hammer blow in stoppage time when Erin Cuthbert fired the hosts ahead with little left on the clock, Mannion knows the team will only be fuelled by the loss, keen to put things right next time out.
“Simple; when you loose it gives you even more motivation for the next time you play so if anything it’s a blessing for our next game.”