London City Lionesses take a break from league action, with a Friday night Vitality Women’s FA Cup clash against Women’s Super League side, Chelsea Women FC.
The Lionesses’ trip to Kingsmeadow will be a difficult challenge with the home side sitting top of the Super League table. The Pride come into this fixture on the back of a narrow 2-0 defeat away to Leicester in the FA Women’s Championship.
Speaking to Lionesses’ Head Coach, Melissa Phillips, about the challenge that the Blues will bring, she said, “I would say Chelsea’s arguably one of the best teams in the world at the moment. So, we’re extremely excited for the challenge."
“I think that everyone wanted that game back that got cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 back in November when we had them in the Conti Cup. We’re excited to face them this Friday and the challenge that it will present to us."
“We take a lot of pride in being difficult to play against and we have all year with that. We’ve not given up many goals in the run of play. That’s just due to preparation, with everyone understanding their roles and being on the same page, but most importantly competing."
“That’s something that we've talked about a lot throughout the new year and it is our goal to be competitive in every game we play against regardless of the opponent. That’s with our focus and our preparation in the things that we can control in training. The mission and the goals are the same this week, it’s just going to test this against much higher quality."
“Regardless of what line-up Chelsea puts out due to the international break and players being away, they are going to be a strong opposition. It's going to test us in ways that we've not yet been tested in so far this year."
“It’s an exciting part to the end of our season. We’ve had Leicester who are the champions in our league, we’ve got Chelsea and then we’ve got Liverpool who are top of our league and a former Super League team. How lucky are we to finish off our season that way and learn so much about ourselves moving into a new year.”
With the Lionesses’ strong away form this season, does Phillips believe that instills some hope and determination into the players ahead of the Chelsea game?
“That was something that we talked about early on in the season. Having our home field as our fortress, but then when we go on the road not wanting teams to play against us and just showing up with that competitive mentality.
“I think it’s kind of the same points that I made about our preparation, our focus, and our understanding of our roles. Any experiences that we can draw on from the year so far to help with success in the upcoming game are going to be beneficial.”
Speaking to Lionesses forward, Atlanta Primus, ahead of the Chelsea game and playing against the team where she started her football career, she said, “I think I made my [Chelsea] debut against London Bees in the Conti Cup. To be in and around that environment at a young age really did help develop me as a player, through being around some of the top players in the world at that time."
“These are the games that you want to play in. We prepare for games all year but when we get the chance to play against top opposition like the Chelsea’s, like the Arsenal’s, it’s exciting. It’s a chance to test ourselves and really challenge ourselves. I’m super excited for Friday and excited to get out there."
“I’ve played with the likes of Millie Bright and Drew Spence, but I am excited to play against Sam Kerr. She’s definitely someone that I have been watching over the last two years. So, to be able to be on the same pitch as them and compete against them is exciting. But obviously, we want to be as competitive as we can and go out there and compete with them and make it as difficult as we can.”
You can follow all the build-up to Friday’s game from 7pm with the live match updates via the London City Lionesses Twitter feed.