London City Lionesses will hit the road on Sunday [26 March], with a trip to Durham F.C. on Women's Football Weekend.
The Lionesses are in fine spirits after their dominant win over title rivals Bristol City and are excited for their next match in the Barclays Women's Championship. On Thursday [23 March], interim head coach Nikita Runnacles spoke with reporters; here is every word she said.
Can you talk us through last weekend from the perspective of your international work with England?
It’s no secret that I’ve been working with England Women’s Under-17s this season, who are on a journey with their own European Championship in the summer. We’ve been on the qualifying journey throughout the season, which led to being away for a couple of weeks competing against Croatia, Norway, and Belgium. We had to finish top of the group to qualify and the talent group of players and staff were able to achieve that.
The final game of the tournament was on Saturday – a day before we played against Bristol City – which made it a race to get back to Princes Park from Croatia in time. It was a mission in itself – I was delayed in Croatia, stuck in Amsterdam, and only arrived about an hour before the game.
And then came the Bristol City match; how did you rate London City's performance?
We knew the pressure that we were under to perform in that game. We knew that a loss that day would put us in a really negative position to compete for the league title, but that a win would put us in a really positive position.
When you look at the performance, I felt like we controlled the game throughout. We often talk about big-five moments and we dealt with those really well. We were able to apply pressure early and get the ball back quickly, which created opportunities for us throughout the game. It could have easily been more for us on the day, which is the only thing we’re a little bit disappointed with.
In terms of a whole team performance, I don’t think we could have asked for much more.
Is the win made more impressive by the fact Bristol City have only conceded nine times this season?
They’re top of the table for a reason. They’re an attacking force but also take serious pride in clean sheets. We knew it was going to be difficult to break them down, although we felt we had created opportunities against them in the away game. We were really pleased with the result and performance but would have liked to have taken more of our chances.
There were a handful of impressive performers, but would did you make of Atlanta Primus' display?
Atlanta has always been a hugely valuable player at the Club. She’s always been able to offer goals and attacking prowess. She’s had a period of time where she hasn’t been starting, buu she executed the game-plan fantastically. Her goals are only going to build on her confidence as we move forward into the last five games of the season.
So, Durham away next. What do you expect against the Wildcats?
It’s always been a place that requires a different mentality in terms of being ruthless and disciplined at the same time. Durham are physical, gritty, and are able to hurt you on the counter very quickly, so we have to be prepared for the challenge in addition to playing the way we want to play. [Maiden Castle] is a very open stadium, which can make games there even more difficult depending on the weather.
We’re excited to have an overnight trip again and have that time together as a team, which is a big positive and a real influence on our group. We’re ready and can’t wait to get up to Durham for the weekend.