Matt Beard was disappointed to see his West Ham United side fall to defeat in their final pre-season match but feels the chances they created were a real positive.
Despite Martha Thomas’ first-half finish for the Irons, a late turnaround by Spurs meant the away side left Rush Green Stadium 2-1 victors on Sunday, ending West Ham’s pre-season with a loss in front of their home fans.
Although the game ended in frustrating fashion, Beard can see positives in the performance and indeed the whole of West Ham’s pre-season calendar, as the Hammers prepare for a return to league action.
“I’ve been pleased with our pre-season programme,” Beard told whufc.com. “We’ve played some tough teams in Chelsea and Arsenal, and we’ve finished off here with Tottenham.
"It was a game, I felt, that we were in control of. We had plenty of chances to finish the game off, but then an individual error allowed them back into the game and then we should have done better for their second goal.
“For me, we’ve created a lot of chances and we can take a lot of positives. With players away on international duty, it disrupted our midfield a little bit. We can look at some real positives. Hopefully this is the result that can focus our attention on next week.”
While Sunday’s match ultimately ended in defeat, it marked a special day for 16-year-old Wiktoria Kiszkis, who made her first appearance for the Hammers in front of the Claret and Blue support at Rush Green Stadium.
The Academy star has been one of a number of youngsters involved with Beard’s side during the summer – with Jayane Beaufort and Wiktoria Fronc also on the bench on Sunday – and the head coach is pleased to see the Academy of Football producing young, talented, female footballers.
He continued: “We’ve used Wiktoria, Mia and Janaye all pre-season. They’ve come in and grown. With Kate getting a knock on Friday, Wiktoria had an opportunity to start today, and I thought she equipped herself really well.
“She can take a lot of pride in her performance today. It’s good that we’ve got players that can come through and make the step up to the first team and help us and stake a claim to be in this squad.”
Five of the seven signings made during the summer also started Sunday’s game, with Kenza Dali and Cecilie Redisch Kvamme missing out due to being on international duty, and Beard is delighted with how each player has settled into the squad.
The head coach believes there are a lot of reasons for his team to be confident ahead of next Sunday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League opener, away to reigning champions Arsenal.
He added: “It’s been a good process. I’m fully aware it’s probably going to take us until the end of September for everything to click into place. We missed Kenza today and we also missed Erin and Cecilie, because they’re all away on international duty. The players that stepped in did a good job.
“Pre-season is about being match ready and hopefully we’re in that position where we can kick on, have a good week in training and go to Arsenal and do the best we can.”