Matt Beard: We have to be better in the crucial moments
West Ham United head coach Matt Beard was left frustrated after watching his side fall to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
A tough first half saw the Hammers head into the break 3-1 down in the Barclays FA Women's Super League fixture and, despite a bright second period, the visitors ultimately ran out winners.
A first West Ham United goal for Emily van Egmond and the return of Scotland international Martha Thomas were two clear positives for the Irons on an otherwise difficult afternoon.
It’s a tough one but I believe in this group of players and I believe that when everyone is fit, we can cause anyone problems.
Beard expressed his disappointment with the way his side conceded so quickly after getting back into the game on two occasions.
“We shot ourselves in the foot today massively," he said. “We’re really frustrated with the second and third goals more so than the first and the fourth. We’ve got to battle and we’ve got back into the game twice, but we’ve shot ourselves in the foot by conceding so quickly afterwards. We have to be better in those moments.”
West Ham United lie 10th in Barclays FA Women’s Super League after five rounds of fixtures and Beard felt Sunday’s game was an opportunity missed.
“On our day, we’ve got a very good team who can compete with anyone, and we felt this was a good opportunity today for us to kickstart our season. It’s a tough one, but I believe in this group of players and I believe that when everyone is fit, we can cause anyone problems.”
And cause the Manchester United backline problems, West Ham did. Twice, Beard’s side went two goals down and twice they responded by putting together their most positive spells of the contest.
“We showed character today,” Beard stated. “We’re a bit fragile when it comes to confidence and I think you can see that. I think as the game grows, we grow, and we get better and start to trust each other.”
Summer signing Rachel Daly looked imperious once more for the Hammers, the England International's chipped finish the highlight of another gutsy display.
“Rachel Daly is doing really well,” Beard said. “She’s a fantastic player that I’ve known for a very long time and getting to see her day-in and day-out and in games, she’s a very talented player and she’s settled in really well within the group.”
With another International break between Sunday’s defeat and the visit of Reading in the Continental League Cup, Beard is hoping to keep his squad fit heading into a crucial two-month period before Christmas.
He added: “Hopefully everyone that goes away next week is able to stay fit and the ones that are here now, like Hawa (Cissoko), will be able to get fit and then we’ve got a full senior squad.
"We feel like in November and December we’ve got some really winnable games.”