Honest Beard delighted with FA Cup quarter-final performance
Head coach Matt Beard admitted he felt he got West Ham United’s tactics wrong in the first half of his side’s match with Aston Villa, but is thrilled with his team’s progression to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Jane Ross’ tenth goal of the season was enough to send the Hammers past the Villans in Sunday’s quarter-final, booking the team’s passage into the last four of the competition.
Beard initially set his side up to play with two strikers in Ross and Leanne Kiernan, while Adriana Leon and Alisha Lehmann supported out wide, but the head coach feels the performance in the opening period showed this was not the right move.
However, the Irons boss was happy to change his decision and see his side get a fantastic win.
We knew it would be hard work but the most important thing was to get the win, keep the clean-sheet, and we’re in the hat for the semi-finals.
“When we looked at the footage of Aston Villa before the game, there was a lot of space between their holding midfield player and where the centre-backs stepped out,” Beard told whufc.com. “Our goal came from that, although to be perfectly honest I think we made the wrong decision in this formation.
“We changed it with about five minutes to go, after we got in front, just to be compact. I thought we were really comfortable in the second half. We had two or three really good opportunities to finish the game off, but we didn’t take them. I got the system wrong in the first half, but we changed it and we’ve seen out the game.
“We’re really pleased. It was always going to be a tough game today. Aston Villa have been in good form and had nothing to lose. We knew it would be hard work but the most important thing was to get the win, keep the clean-sheet, and we’re in the hat for the semi-finals. We are all delighted.”
Aston Villa proved to be a difficult opponent for the Hammers, with the Championship side creating chances against West Ham. However, goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse and her defence were able to keep the home side out and record another clean-sheet.
Beard continued: “I felt we were comfortable for most of the game and the only way I could see us conceding was perhaps from a set-play. I think we defended really well and showed a lot of character.
“At the end of the day, it was always going to be a tough game. We’re not used to this sort of pitch. Taking into consideration everything, this is a great win for us.”
With the FA Cup semi-final draw set for Monday morning, Beard is looking forward to discovering who his team will play in the last four on Sunday 14 April.
However, the Irons head coach knows his side have an important FA WSL clash to prepare for first in an away trip to Chelsea.
“We’ve got league fixtures coming up. We haven’t had a day off this week so the girls will have a couple of days now to recover. We will see who we get on Monday and prepare for Chelsea in the league next