Ray: ‘Shared responsibility’ key to winning Portsmouth test

Karen Ray, Myles Smith and Amber Stobbs

A strong sense of ‘shared responsibility and accountability’ will be crucial if West Ham United Ladies are to beat Portsmouth this weekend, according to interim head coach Karen Ray. 

The Ladies head into Sunday’s match in good form, with the side unbeaten in their last eight matches across all competitions and having conceded just twice in 2018. 

The team will take on a stern test in Portsmouth FC Ladies, however, with this weekend’s opponents sitting fifth in the Premier League Southern Division, having claimed back-to-back away wins in their previous two contests. 

Ray recognises the threat Portsmouth pose to her side’s unbeaten streak and feels the team needs to continue to share culpability, something she feels has been vital in the previous wins. 

The key for us has been shared responsibility and accountability. Everyone now knows what needs to be done to get the results.

Karen Ray

“Portsmouth will certainly be a team to respect,” Ray told whufc.com: “Jay is a good coach, who has been having a successful season and we will have to be at our best to get a result. 

“Having Neo, our analyst, really helps us understand our opponents. We work together to nullify our oppositions strengths and exploit their weaknesses while staying true to our new-found identity.

“The key for us has been shared responsibility and accountability. Everyone now knows what needs to be done to get the results. We all value each other’s differences, the diversity within our team creates a higher level of understanding and creativity which allows us to all trust the process.”

The Hammers suffered a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture against Portsmouth in September, and while the Irons have added to the squad since that game, Ray feels a clear philosophy has led to the team’s improvements since then. 

She continued: “We have made a couple of signings since the previous meeting with Portsmouth, but ultimately I think the identity the team has gained has been the biggest factor. We have instilled a style of play that supports very talented individuals in contributing to the team. 

Ladies celebrate

“Everyone is passionate about performing well and winning games, our mentality shift has been key to our newfound success and we all have plans to continue.”

With just five games left in the league this campaign, plus two Cup finals, Ray is thrilled with the progress she has seen from West Ham in 2018 and has called on the players to continue to raise their standards between now and the end of the season. 

“When I was asked to step in for the interim, my ambition was to support the girls in earning the respect they truly deserve,” Ray added: “I think they are doing so. However, there is no reason why we can’t continue to set our sights higher. 

“We have an extremely talented, competitive and brave group of players - the perfect mix for success. The staff and I certainly won’t let standards slip as we raise the bar higher every time we cross the white line. It’s a professional, demanding and challenging environment that is driving our positive results and I don’t often say it but I am extremely proud of everyone.”

Watch West Ham United Ladies this Sunday against Portsmouth FC Ladies at Rush Green Stadium! Kick-off at 2pm!

Portsmouth poster