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London City Lionesses welcome Crystal Palace for first home game of the season

The Lionesses got off to the perfect start last Sunday, but can they make it two out of two?

Last Sunday marked the first step in the lioness’s journey in this seasons Women's Championship, and it couldn’t have gone any better.

A 1-0 win over one of the title favourites in Liverpool, courtesy of expertly dispatched penalty from new number nine Rianna Jarrett, has already got London City fans excited for what this season could bring.

Reflecting on their victory on the road, manager Melissa Phillips was full of praise for her team.

“It was a fantastic performance from the team as a whole. Playing away to Liverpool in front of a great home crowd, it's not an easy place to play and to go execute such a professional and disciplined performance really allows us to build belief and begin the season with momentum.

We set several mini goals as a team, for what we wanted to accomplish and focusing on our own performance. We were able to hit some of those objectives and learn a lot about ourselves in the process. A really a fantastic way to start and much to build upon.”

It was also a great day for City’s defense, with goalkeeper Shae Yanez picking up her first clean sheet of the season.

“Yeah, I think everyone knew their role and did their job,” said Yanez, “we didn't really let them have any shots and like anything on goal. So that's to them, that's them doing their job.

But yeah, it’s always great to come away with a clean sheet and I just hate getting scored on and I’m sure we’ll keep on improving.”

The team’s performance on the pitch, however, can also be put down to the mentality installed by Philips over the summer. She spoke openly about what she is looking to develop with the team.

“We focus a lot on growth mindset and response in any given moment and we talked about how any individual or team’s ability to respond to key moments is indicative of how much success they have as individuals or a collective unit.

So, whether that's transition moments, whether that's key moments within the game or whether that's how we approach our individual and team development week in and week out, it’s really just all about seeing ourselves and getting better each day.”

But now attention turns to Crystal Palace. The south-west London outfit also took all three points in their opening games, beating Bristol City 4-3. Yet despite facing such a seemingly free scoring side, Phillips remains unfazed.

“Yeah, Palace will be a unique challenge just based on the way that their style and the way that they set up, you know, they're a very organised team on both sides of the ball and present a unique challenge in the way that they attack and defend so it'll be a fun matchup for us.

But we take a lot of pride in being difficult to break down ourselves and where we finished in the league last year and we have some higher goals for in terms of goals conceded and getting clean sheets. And especially at home, you know, we want to put in a performance at home, that makes it so Princes’ Park is a very difficult place to come play.”

Yet whilst Yanez is almost certain to retain her spot for Sunday’s game, there is new contest between the sticks in the form of England U18 keeper Anna Pederson. But Yanez welcomes the competition.

“Yeah, it's mainly just building relationships with the other keepers because you're all there to get better. Like, obviously with a goalkeeping position. Only one is going to play, but it's just good to know that you have the support from the other goalkeepers around you and that you help each other in training sessions and just help each other get better.”

Yet the clash with Palace will also be a highly significant occasion off the pitch, with fans finally allowed to return to Princes’ Park. For Phillips, having still not met the fans in person, the game will be that extra bit special.

“Well, we had friends, family and our Academy in attendance at the West Ham matchup, and it was an unbelievable environment. So, we’re all looking forward to welcoming everyone back into Prince's park for our Opening match. And, and I think the atmosphere proves to be something really fun to play in.”

For Yanez, the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd is equally exciting, for a variety of reasons.

“Yeah. I think it's going to be a great atmosphere having fans back in, because last year, there was no one. So, just even that little bit of crowd noise. Like, I love playing in front of crowds. Liverpool was a lot of fun, especially when you're getting booed, because it just gives you that little bit of like, grit and fun.”

Whilst the Liverpool supporters were hardly over enthusiastic about Yanez’s stunning display last weekend, she can certainly be guaranteed a much warmer reception from the Lioness faithful this Sunday!

London City Vs Crystal Palace kicks off at 14:00 on Sunday the 5th of September. Click here to buy tickets now!

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