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Every word Nikita Runnacles said on Southampton, April internationals & title race

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

London City Lionesses interim head coach Nikita Runnacles spoke with reporters about a range of topics on Thursday [13 April].

Here is every word the former goalkeeper said on our trip to Southampton, London City's international stars, and the latest twist in the Barclays Women's Championship title race.

Interim Head Coach, Nikita Runnacles:

There was a shock result for Bristol City last time out… how is the squad feeling going into the final three games of the season?

We’ve always said that Bristol City’s results are completely out of our control. There’s nothing we can do to impact them. Our job is purely to make sure we stay in a professional mindset, putting as many points on the board as we can between now and the end of the season.

We’re not naïve enough to think that we’re not being chased from behind. It’s really important that we stick to what we’re here to do – applying pressure on the team above us while ensuring we aren’t caught from behind.

What stands out for you about Southampton?

Southampton have played fantastic football this season. They’re athletic enough to cause problems with runs in behind and have played a little bit more direct since the start of the year. They’ve created lots of chances against some really good opposition, but have been unlucky with saves against them.

Like when they came to Princes Park, we’re expecting a really close game against a very organised side. We expect their football to be free-flowing, with a little bit of direct running. Their recent results have been unlucky, they probably deserve to have more points considering their performances.

Does playing at a stadium like St Mary’s impact your preparations?

We’ve always said that this is where we want the women’s game to go. There was a fantastic crowd when we played away versus Sheffield United and the players dealt with that really well. It’s hard to replicate that kind of environment on a weekly basis, but we’re super excited to play at St Mary’s.

It’s always nice to play on a high-quality pitch because it gives you a positive mindset to know that you can play the way you like to play. Football is always better with noise behind you, so it should be an exciting game.

Do you believe there are more twists to come in the title race?

Definitely. I think the key is that we make sure the twist isn’t against us – we have to say keep focused for the next three games because we absolutely believe that there’s an opportunity for us to still come away with the league title.

Until the maths say differently, we will approach every game with the mindset that we can get to where we want to be.

Jamie-Lee Napier is on the verge of hitting the 50-appearance mark as a London City Lionesses – how important has she been to the Club?

With Jamie-Lee, what you see is what you get.

She wears her heart on her sleeve and works extremely hard in every training session and game. She’s someone who has been in the starting lineup regularly and has always found a way to produce performances that help the team.

I’m delighted that Jamie-Lee is the latest player to close in on the milestone, it’s really important that players have the opportunity to achieve those goals with the Club.

Five London City Lionesses played for their countries over the international break – does that boost the team ahead of the final stretch?

Representing your country is one of the proudest moments a player can have, so it’s great for them to get minutes under their belt while away on international duty. We’re very focused on what we have to do between now and the end of the season and it’s really important and exciting to have the players return after a positive experience at their training camps.


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