REACTION: Reading Women 0 Blues Women 1
Following Blues Women’s 1-0 win over Reading to ensure three wins out of three in the league, manager Marc Skinner praised his team’s ability to unpick the opponents that finished above them last season.
He spoke of his pride in the performance and the attitude of the whole of his squad as they finished off a tough three-game week with a 100% record, as well as goal scorer Meaghan Sargeant who grabbed her first of the season with a neatly taken strike.
He said: “I couldn’t be prouder. The performance, the game plan, the way they executed it was excellent. They’ve put their bodies on the line.
“That’s the third game and arguably the hardest game in the week, some will say. That shows the character they’re starting to build and it takes time to do that. If you have the foresight to wait and be patient, we can start to build something special. I think the girls will take a lot of confidence from that and it will feed future performances hopefully.
“You can be proud of yourselves at times, you can be proud of what you do. I think there’s a tendency as humans to air on the side of negativity. For me, I’m not going the other way, I’m just saying to the girls well done. Appreciate when you’ve done something well then work hard next week to then play Man City.
“There’s loads more football to be played, there’s loads more work to be done but when you do something well and execute it like that like they’ve done today, rode their luck at times, then be proud of what you’ve done because they’ve earnt that result today.”
Sargeant has been an ever-present in Blues’ squad since joining in 2014 and having scored the winning goal against the Royals, Skinner explained that with her application and commitment, she had the chance to become one of the best defenders in the league.
“When I picked Meg up she was a low confidence player who I believe has the ability to really push on and if you can get her in the right frame of mind over the next year, she has everything she needs to be an international player. Everything,” he said. “With her attitude and her commitment this year, I’ve seen different things and she must continue that and if she does she can be the one of the best defenders in this league.”
After bossing the first half with chance after chance, Reading came out with a new found aggressive as they went searching for an equaliser.
Skinner said: “They’ve had chances. They’re Reading who finished above us last year at home. They’re going to have chances, they’re going to try and score goals so you’re going to have to defend at times. Was it as comfortable as I wanted it to be? No. But again, we just walk away with the points and we’re happy.
“There are elements of control that you have in a game. Definitely in the second half, Reading had more control of the game. We had key moments in the game which we know we’re going to work on because we could have been out of sight and then they’re not in the game.
“When it’s only 1-0, any game, it’s still going to be a bit tetchy because they’ve only got to score one opportunity. It was more uncomfortable in the second half. We didn’t have as much control but that’s to be expected.
“I think we did our best today and you ask your key members to step up, you ask your Ann-Katrin to make key saves, you ask your centre-halves to make key blocks. That’s their job.
“When you have quality players like that [Gemma Davison and Fara Williams], like Reading do have and we do have them as well, you have to stop their style of play and how they want to play. And I think we were really effective in doing that today.
“I thought that was the key difference today. We had a game plan and we only had a day or two to work on it and I thought they stifled Reading today. They also had the quality to unpick Reading and we should have been up further in the game and if we do that it’s a totally different game in the end.”