Claire Rafferty admitted West Ham United received a ‘huge wake-up call’ after suffering a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City Women.
A difficult afternoon for the Hammers saw Matt Beard’s side go three goals behind after just 17 minutes and, although the away side grew into the fixture, they would concede another four times before the final whistle.
Esmee De Graaf would net a consolation for the Hammers at the Academy Stadium but Rafferty said she and her teammates know their performance simply was not up to the level required on Sunday.
“I think we were slightly off from the opening whistle,” the defender told whufc.com. “We weren’t winning the second balls and we conceded a really early goal, and then another quite soon after, and we found it a struggle to get out of that period.
“We grew into the game a bit and maintained possession after that, and the game sat at 3-0 for quite a while. We knew in the second half that the next goal would be crucial, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way. They got their fourth.
Losing like this is a massive lesson and a huge learning curve. No one was near the level that we need to be at and this game will be a huge wake up call.
“I think, if we are brutally honest, this result could end up being a blessing in disguise. Losing like this is a massive lesson and a huge learning curve. No one was near the level that we need to be at and this game will be a huge wake up call.”
While City’s quality showed in Sunday’s Women’s Super League contest, Rafferty acknowledged that the Hammers’ failure to properly execute their game plan was also a pivotal factor in the heavy defeat.
The 29-year-old recognised that, when West Ham tried to play the way they were supposed to, they were rewarded in their efforts, but had left themselves too much to do.
She continued: “We couldn’t get hold of the game in midfield, and it took us a while to get used to their top-class movement in that area. When you’re playing a top-class team like City, if you give them chances they will put away them away.
“I think what needed to happen was for us to take a minute to compose ourselves, believe in ourselves, and actually carry out the game plan we had worked on, which we didn’t do. Football is quite a simple game and it was as simple as that for us. As soon as we were doing things we were supposed to, we looked a much better team.
“At 3-0 now at half-time there was an element of going all out and doing what we know we can do. We did what we should have done from the beginning and did it well, so we can take some confidence from that.”
With a tough test against Liverpool next for West Ham, Rafferty is prepared for a hard week of training as the side looks to get back to winning ways.
“I think it’s going to be a tough week in training. We need to look at ourselves, watch this game back, and put this game to bed and take the lessons we need to into the Liverpool game next weekend.”