West Ham United women’s head coach hailed his team as showing a number of match-winning characteristics in Sunday’s 1-0 victory against Birmingham City.
Adriana Leon’s first goal of the season gave the Irons a deserved first three points of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign, with a cool finish in the first half the difference between the Hammers and the Blues.
A hard-fought contest by both sides left Beard content with the result and the performance, with the head coach admitting that he wants to see more from his team throughout the rest of the season.
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“We’re really pleased to get the points and obviously get the win at home,” Beard said. “I’m pleased we’ve kept the clean-sheet today. I’m a little bit disappointed with the overall performance but I’ve think we’ve shown good characteristics today.
“We also showed some things we need to work on. But overall, to get the first win under our belt, it’s going to put everyone at ease a bit now. We can focus on ourselves and make sure we improve our performances.
Overall, to get the first win under our belt, it’s going to put everyone at ease a bit now. We can focus on ourselves and make sure we improve our performances.
“Birmingham put us under a lot of pressure, but at the same time we had opportunities to finish the game off. For me, the game was too transitional. There were too many turnovers from our team. The game became too open. With the heat today and the conditions, players were cramping up and starting to tire. But we held on.”
Having taken the lead thanks to Leon, Martha Thomas and Jacynta Galabadaarachchi both had chances to extend West Ham’s advantage.
Beard would have liked to have seen his team score more but believes his team will develop the understanding to do exactly that in the near future.
He continued: “It was a little frustrating to not kill the game. We had chances to exploit spaces. We had maybe two or three really good chances to kill the game, but the pleasing thing is we’re getting into those positions and making those chances.
“As time goes on and relationships develop, I’m confident we’ll be finishing those chances.”
Having secured a first win of the campaign, Beard and his team now look to the rest of the season, with the head coach optimistic his team can continue to grow and perform, having beaten a Birmingham side that finished fourth in the WSL last year.
He added: “Birmingham have made a lot of changes in the summer. They’ve got players that are still trying to understand what’s being asked of them. We’ve been through and are going through that process too.
“We had some really good moments and for me, we want to finish as far up the league table as we can. We’ve feel we’ve recruited well and now it’s about getting everything to gel. When that happens, I’m sure we will be successful in this division.”