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Nikita Runnacles: 'As the game went on, you could see our confidence grow'

London City Lionesses interim head coach Nikita Runnacles was thrilled with her side's bounce-back performance versus Charlton Athletic on Sunday [2 April].

After the Lionesses fell to defeat away at Durham a week earlier, they needed to defeat the Addicks to keep their title hopes alive in the final weeks of the Barclays Women's Championship season.

And they delivered, with Atlanta Primus scoring the game-winning goal in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Princes Park.

"The win is obviously important but so was the manner of the game," explained Runnacles shortly after full-time. "We wanted to keep a clean sheet after conceding three goals the previous week and also make sure we found our attacking prowess. I feel we achieved that.

"As the game went on, you could see that we grew in confidence from a defensive aspect, which allowed us to throw two players [Karin Muya and Jamie-Lee Napier] on as extra attacking threats."

Although the Lionesses were forced to wait until the final four minutes to find their breakthrough, Runnacles never felt that a goal - or win - was out of reach.

"There were moments in the game when both teams were flat," she explained. "So, I wouldn't say that I was worried about not scoring because we are a team that creates opportunities. That doubt never crept in.

"We knew what we had on the bench and that they would be able to cause Charlton problems. And they did!"

Nikita Runnacles on Shae Yanez:

Question: You work with Shae Yanez on a daily basis as the Club's goalkeeper coach. It must feel great to watch her pull off some big saves today...

Shae, over the course of the three seasons she's been here, has been a great asset to the Club. Her strength is shot-stopping, with her reaction time and movement around the goal key. She is making big saves on a daily basis in training and came up big in the game today.

Nikita Runnacles on Atlanta Primus:

Question: What a performance from Atlanta Primus! Can you talk us through it from your perspective, as she played on the wing and in central midfield today?

Atlanta is a versatile player who, over the last couple of weeks, we've been talking to about how important her versatility is to the team. We're lucky that 'Lants is able to be versatile and bring quality in all areas of the pitch. Her performance warranted a goal, she did a really hard job in the forward line and then brought creativity when she moved into midfield.

Nikita Runnacles on the international break:

Question: How much will you be talking to the Club's internationals during the break?

It's the next step up for our players, so we won't be talking to them too much besides letting them know that we're supporting them throughout this time. It's a massive morale boost to represent your country, so we look forward to seeing them back for the final three games.
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