The Blues Ladies were making their UEFA Women’s Champions League debut against the Serie A runners-up and goals from Rachel Williams and Kerys Harrop were enough to give the home side an advantage to take to Italy with them.
“The girls couldn’t have performed any better,” said Parker. “That was an absolutely magnificent performance in the first half against a team we did not really know about - the information and DVD’s on them just aren’t available. A two-nil scoreline was fantastic, you’d take that going into the second game.”
Blues opening goal was created by a Laura Bassett cross and Parker was full of praise for his captain, who was also named Player of the Match.
“On the big occasions, Laura always comes up trumps. She plays fantastic every game, she’s our ‘steady Eddie’ who gets eight out of ten every week. She’s a wonderful captain and a wonderful person to have in the dressing room – she deserves more plaudits than she gets.”
The girls now take their cushion to Verona next Wednesday and Parker is ready for the hosts to pull out all the stops to make their visit as uncomfortable as possible.
“It’s going to be a really intimidating atmosphere, there’s going to be a lot of fans there in the stadium, it’s going to be a different atmosphere with a running track around the pitch, so a completely different environment so we’ve got to take all that in.
“They’ll be trying all the tricks in the book, keeping us awake in the hotel all night, pulling the fire alarm – so we’ll have to deal with that and learn from it all.”
“We’re looking to have a good time in Italy first and foremost. It’s three days with the group, we’re going to enjoy the experience and savour it.”
Before that, Blues Ladies travel to Bristol Academy on Sunday, looking to consolidate their second place in the league standings. That is the immediate aim for Parker, who concedes that, despite being mathematically possible, they will not catch the leaders, Arsenal.
“It’s not about winning the title, that’s gone. Arsenal will get the point they need, if not three. We’ve just got to make sure we get the one point that will probably be enough for us to qualify for the Champions League – but three would secure that. It’s been about second for a long time for us now. Hopefully in between [the two legs] we get the points we need to qualify [for the Champions League] for a second season running.”