Brighton & Hove Albion women’s first-team manager Hope Powell is urging her side not to rest on their laurels against West Ham United, and get the win needed to claim ninth spot to round off their FA Women’s Super League season.
Powell has challenged her players to end the campaign on a winning note, but is wary of a potential reaction from last week’s beaten SSE Women’s FA Cup finalists at Rush Green today.
She said, “We recognise it’s going to be a tough game and I’m sure both teams want to finish strongly.
“They [West Ham] would’ve been disappointed by the FA Cup result, and would want that final push in the last game.
“That being said, we want to finish the season strongly and go one better than our expectation, which is to finish above Everton. We’ve got everything to play for, but we recognise that it will be challenging, as all the games are in this league.”
The Albion manager explained that claiming ninth spot was the next target after their league status was confirmed, and commented on her side’s recent form since securing the side’s place in the top flight for another season.
“We made it a target once we knew we were safe and knew Yeovil’s situation. We first wanted to get a point at Reading, and played well in that game, but sadly couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“In the Arsenal game, we tried to showcase ourselves, but they were too good for us. There were moments in the game where I thought we did well, but in this game we want to be on the front foot, try to win the game and get three points to finish higher than Everton.
“We had a good meeting on Thursday, set the expectations and hopefully they’ll try to execute them on Saturday.”
Following Sunday’s game, Powell encouraged her players to use their time wisely during the off season and says the challenge will be even greater next season.
“They recognise they’ve still got something to play for, but next season will be tougher and we’ll demand more from them.
“Next pre-season is going to be even harder than the last, so they’ve got to gain every advantage they can - that will be through rest and recovery, diet and nutrition, as well as the technical and psychological aspects.
“With the introduction of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur next season, it’s going to be harder with two teams going down. We’ll have to be ready.”