Hope Powell took the positives from today’s 2-0 FA Women’s Super League defeat to Chelsea, in an encouraging display at Kingsmeadow.
Albion found themselves 2-0 down at half-time, but came out fighting in the second half and had a number of chances to pull the game back.
She said, “We’re very aware of what we are up against in this league, against this team full of international talent.
“We set up to be hard to beat and I think we competed very well. The second half from us was much better, we pushed the players to be more on the front foot.
“Whilst we were very good after half-time, the disappointing thing is we didn’t get anything for it.
“Despite it all, I am pleased with the way we conducted ourselves.”
The manager was also encouraged by the improvement the team has shown from when they first played the Blues in the FA Continental Tyres Cup.
“If I compare this game to the one we played against them in the Continental Tyres Cup, where we lost 3-1, I think we are getting better.
“We’re improving that little bit more in every game we’ve played, and hopefully that will be enough to see us through the season.
“We have to be hard to beat and we can’t leave ourselves exposed at the back, which is what we’ve been working on.
“Despite the defeat I’m happy defensively, it’s in the final third where we need to work on because we’re creating the chances.”
“I think the good thing is we are learning in each game, our performances are getting better and the fact we created a number of chances today shows that we are on the right track.
Powell also explained what she said at half-time to keep the players motivated, and went onto praise Ini Umotong for another tireless display.
“I said that the game today will not define our season or whether we will stay up or not. It’s about character, resilience and the need to play more on the front foot.
“I wanted them to show a spirited performance and I think they showed that, which I’m very pleased with.
“Ini was an example of that. Her physicality is a strong part of her game. She is able to hold defenders off and give herself the best chance.
“All she needs to do now is put the ball in the back of the net. But I’m pleased for Ini, I’ve given her a lot of encouragement to do the basic things well and she’s learning in every game.”
The manager will now look to take the confidence from the second-half performance into their next match against Everton, in two weeks’ time.
“The stats will say that Chelsea had the most possession, but we had a good go and the performance will help us going forward.
“I think we’ve got enough about us to stay in the league. Every game we are learning, so I think the break for us until the next match comes at a good time.
“We had a few injuries at the beginning of the season, but players are now starting to come back.
“Fern [Whelan] was one of them today and think she did a really good job in the middle. It’s just about trying to be more consistent in our performances.”