Brighton manager Melissa Phillips believes her side have learned a lot of lessons from their last four WSL games.

In their previous four matches, the Seagulls faced off against each of last season’s top four, gaining four points in the process.

The victory away to Manchester City in particular showed how far Brighton are coming along under Phillips.

The American stated that her side are always learning, and that the last four games have forced her side to be more aware on the pitch.

“I learned that we can compete with the top teams. We’re really proud of the performances that we’ve put in and took away four points, and arguably, we could have taken away more.

“It’s a lot to be proud of and shows we are moving in the right direction. We learn something new about ourselves in every game and that’s our objective.

“We want to measure how did the game go, did it go like we prepared for, or did we learn something new, and what will we take from it into the next game.

“Playing against the top four certainly stretched us to play quicker in possession and make decisions quicker because of the pace of the games.”

Scintillating Symonds

One player who seems to be thriving under Phillips’ management is Maisie Symonds.

Last season was a struggle for the youngster, with illness and injury keeping her out of the Albion lineup for a fair amount of time.

This term, however, Symonds has featured in all seven WSL games (starting two of the seven) and has three assists to her name, the highest in the league.

“Maisie has been a fantastic part of this team, especially coming off the back of a really difficult year with illness and injury, and she still is an exciting young prospect.

“She got her first call back up to the England U23s and it’s very well deserved. She’s progressed from strength to strength throughout pre-season to now, where she’s made her way into the starting eleven, and will do quite consistently.”

There are a couple of Brighton players sniffing in and around the England setup, and the Brighton manager is confident Symonds can go right to the top.

“Maisie wants to be a top player in the women’s game, full stop. When you have an ambition like that, you don’t put a ceiling on yourself.

“It’s about consistent growth and really pushing on towards that. She like many other players in our squad will want to break into that England U23 pool and then onto the seniors.

“With the way she’s progressing, she’s definitely putting herself in the right place to do that.”

An easier run?

After their last four games, there may be a sense around the fanbase that the next run of games may bring around more points.

After Liverpool this weekend, Brighton will battle against Leicester City, Aston Villa, and Bristol City.

Yet, from Phillips’ point of view, the mentality doesn’t change.

“I don’t think there is a mentality change heading into these next games. We approach every game in the same way.

“We don’t underestimate Liverpool in the slightest, and in terms of looking at the next three fixtures, we will just look at this weekend. We’ll look at the next two when they come after the international break.

“The mentality of this group has always been resilient, takes ownership and they never stop working.

“We will want to take things to stretch us in terms of communication and connectivity, but the mindset remains.

“We want to be competitive and be difficult to break down, while creating opportunities when we go forward.”

Liverpool have so far been the surprise package in the WSL and currently sit sixth in the table.

Matt Beard has received a lot of plaudits for his success so far, and Phillips is acutely aware of how difficult the test of Liverpool will be.

“I’ve faced off against Matt Beard squads many times during my time in England, the last being with my old club in the Championship. They’re a very difficult team to play and a difficult team to beat.

“They’ve got a strong identity on both sides of the ball, but the whole run up has been about what we can do, and that’s our objective going into the weekend.”

About the author