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London City Lionesses return to take on Coventry United

The first international break of the season has drawn to a close, which means one thing, the Lionesses are back!

“We’ve taken the international break to assess trends in our play and focus on growth individually and as a team,” said manager Melissa Phillips, “we’ve also taken some time to rest, recover and rejuvenate the bodies to make sure we attack the week ahead feeling fresh.”

Undoubtedly though, memories of the recent hard-fought defeat to Lewes FC Women at The Dripping Pan, are still fresh in everyone’s minds, especially captain Harley Bennett’s.

“When you lose a game it’s an opportunity to learn something about yourselves. Everyone came in Monday morning and was accountable for the result, and that’s important in order to move on and put it right.

We have absolute belief in each other and the staff, so we know it’s nothing to worry about. We’ve just got to start games better and not concede early goals because that’ll always change the face of the game.”

For Phillips, the result is one that is similarly tough to swallow, but one that she believes will work to help inspire the players even further.

“We didn’t go in at entirely full strength and could tell within our play that we were off the pace from our own expectations.

It has certainly fuelled our fire to respond, and we’ve done just that with analysis processes and on the training ground over the past week.”

Such fire will be essential if the Lionesses are going to overcome Coventry United L.F.C., a side desperate to register their first win of the season.

“Coventry will be our hardest game yet,” remarked Phillips, “as they are a team searching for their first result.

They have done an exceptional job with recruitment and creating a full-time environment over the summer, and we know they will be prepared and competitive.”

Sunday’s game will also see Bennett don the captain's armband, a role she clearly relishes.

“We’ve got an unbelievably selfless group so it’s really enjoyable. Knowing we win or lose together is a great feeling to have each other’s back no matter what the result.”

A leader on the pitch like Bennett is essential if London City are going to navigate another highly competitive season in the Women’s Championship, with Phillips keen to stress this point.

“The league has been incredibly competitive over the opening three weeks, with no team securing maximum points.

We know how important it is to perform at home and prepare accordingly to ensure we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to secure another three points.”

With that mind, Bennett is well aware that for the team to be successful, it is vital that the senior members of the squad help set the tone for both newcomers and younger players alike.

“Everyone has to be pulling in the same direction in values and beliefs to be successful. It’s been really easy this year. Everyone that’s come in has been a natural fit to our core values.

But it’s just those little reminders day to day to make sure we are living and breathing those values that I think the more senior players have to be responsible for.”

Come this Sunday though, there is no doubt that each and everyone in the squad will be excited to get out at Princes Park and remind the rest of the league just how dangerous the Lionesses can be.

The London City Lionesses kick-off against Coventry United at 14:00 at Princes Park. Get your tickets here!

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