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Press Conference: Nikita Runnacles on the international break, Sheffield United & more

Nikita Runnacles, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)
Nikita Runnacles, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)

London City interim head coach Nikita Runnacles spoke with reporters for the first time since the international break on Thursday [2 March].

Here is every word she said ahead of the Lionesses' clash with Sheffield United.

Nikita Runnacles, Interim Head Coach

It’s been three weeks since your last game, how have you filled the time with the players?

We’ve spent a lot of time focussing on us because the breaks within the season are the perfect time to do it. Naturally, we lost six players to international duty, so we focused on smaller sessions and individualised work to get the team ready for when the internationals returned. Now, we’re fully focused on Sheffield United at the weekend.

You went into the break on a winning note, did that pick everyone up after the defeat to Bristol City?

I’ve always said that this team bounces back from adversity really quickly – and that was the focus after the loss to Bristol City. There was no time for us to be down, we had to shift our focus to Birmingham City, and the players did that exceptionally well.

What are you expecting from Sheffield United under new management?

Sheffield United have always had intensity, grit, and determination – it’s always been there. We’ve reviewed and reflected on what the change means for us and how we will deal with it. They need the points as much as us, so it’s about counteracting their strengths and making sure we bring our own strengths to the game.

How difficult it is to prepare for a match versus a new manager?

We are fortunate that they have already played a match under Jonathan Morgan. We also played against him when he was in charge of Leicester City in the Barclays Women’s Championship, so we have an idea of how he will want to impact his team.

Ultimately, it’s all about how both teams perform on the day.

You have a run of three home games at Princes Park, that must be a good feeling?

Atlanta Primus, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)
Atlanta Primus, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)

Definitely. In this five-game block, we have four games at Princes Park. We really enjoy playing at home because it adds to the atmosphere and excitement coming into what is the most important block of the season so far. It’s great to have a run of home games: we know the stadium, know the pitch, and know how to perform here.

Can you provide an injury update for us?

Carly [Girasoli] is close to her return to play, which is what we’ve been working towards since she was injured at Crystal Palace. It’s really important that she continues her progress because we’re all dead excited to have her back.

Charlotte [Fleming] continues on with her [anterior cruciate ligament] rehab, as we progress through the season.

Finally, it must be nice to have your six internationals back?

It’s brilliant for the Club to have so many players experience a different environment with their respective national teams. It’s obviously great for them to feature for their country and earn minutes in preparation for whatever their summer might look like. It’s just great to see them in those environments.

Since they’ve been back, they have brought serious energy. They’re happy and we’re grateful to have them back injury free and ready to go!



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