Beard: We must focus on the things we can do well
Matt Beard says his West Ham United side cannot afford to underestimate the threat Liverpool will pose this weekend, despite their standing in the league.
Vicky Jepson's Reds, Sunday’s visitors to Rush Green Stadium, sit eleventh in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and are level on points with bottom side Bristol City, yet boast one of the stronger defences in the division having conceded just 16 goals.
Beard saw his Irons pegged back to a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool in December, having taken the lead in that match early on, and knows his team will need to focus on their own qualities in order to take the three points.
It’s important to concentrate on ourselves and focus on what we can do. We have a very talented squad.
“If I go back to that away game at Liverpool, we had two or three really good opportunities to put the game to bed,” Beard told whufc.com. “When you play Liverpool, if you don’t get that second goal after going in front, they become more dangerous. As games go on, they grow in confidence.
“They’ve got plenty of players that can hurt you in the likes of Rachel Furness, Niamh Charles and Rinsola Babajide. They are quick, direct players who are dangerous. It won’t be an easy game, but if we look at our first-half performance away at their place, it was probably one of our best 45 minutes this season. What we don’t want to do is let them get a foothold in the match.
“For us, it’s important to concentrate on ourselves and focus on what we can do. We have a very talented squad. We have some very exciting young players and some excellent experience in our team too. We need that to all work for us on Sunday.”
Sunday’s match will mark Beard’s 50th competitive game in charge of West Ham United, and the head coach allowed himself a moment to consider the side’s achievements in that time.
For Beard however, the focus should be on the players, and not himself, as they look to returning to winning ways against his former side.
“It may sound trivial, but it’s just a number,” Beard added. “In football, it’s one of those things.
"I have to say though that this has been an amazing experience. We built a team in one summer, which we took to the FA Cup Final, and then we rebuilt it again. It’s amazing to think what has happened in 18 months.
“For me, it’s about the players and the team. That is much more important. I can look back over my first 49 games, on the whole, with pride in what we’ve achieved. We’ve had a good journey so far.”