Matt Beard says West Ham United will go into this Sunday’s FA Women’s Continental League Cup match against Reading desperate to show their quality and ability.
The Irons head into this weekend’s game after a late defeat at the hands of Chelsea last weekend, a game that Beard’s team led thanks to Adriana Leon’s goal before conceding three times.
Despite the score in that game, Beard was happy with his team’s showing during the majority of that match and has called on his side to show the same tenacity versus the Royals.
The head coach believes this Sunday’s match is a must-win game if West Ham wish to qualify for the knock-out stages of the 2019/20 competition.
We’re looking for a response. If we want to qualify for the knock-out stages, we have to win at Reading.
“We know Reading are a tough team,” Beard told whufc.com. “It’s always good to play against Reading. We had some really good battles with them last year and we know what to expect from them. We’ve been watching their games and they’ve been very good this year. I know they didn’t get a result against Manchester United, but that means they will want to respond against us.
“We’re in the same boat though. I feel we put in a good performance against Chelsea and the score-line probably didn’t reflect the game and ended a bit harsh. But we’re also looking for a response.
“If we want to qualify for the knock-out stages, we have to win at Reading. Every game we play in, we obviously want to win. It’s been a tough group for us with three other very good Barclays FA WSL sides included in Chelsea, Tottenham and Reading. We’re playing teams that are all very talented, whereas last year it was just Arsenal from our league with us.
“We’re looking forward to this game though and, of course, it’s always good to play in the men’s stadiums as well. We put in a good performance there last year so hopefully we can do it again.”
Beard admitted his squad has a couple of knocks to contend with at the moment, with Julia Simic and Esmee de Graaf working their way back from injury, but the Hammers coach suggested a late decision on his team would give his players the best chance of playing this weekend.
He continued: “We’ve got a great depth in this squad, as we saw against Chelsea on Sunday. We pushed what is arguably the best team in the country at the moment to the very end.
“Unfortunately, the pattern of struggling with a couple of injuries and illness has continued this week for us but we will leave it until the very last minute and give everyone the best possible chance of being fit and available for Sunday. I’m hoping we will have most of the squad available for selection.”