Kenza Dali spoke of her delight after West Ham United Women produced a superb performance to beat Reading 5-0 at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
The midfielder scored the game’s opening goal in Berkshire, as the Hammers went onto score four more in the opening 45 minutes to claim their first league win of 2021.
Dali said that getting the opening goal relieved some of the pressure on her team in the early stages.
“It’s an important goal because it’s the first one, so getting that first goal lifts the pressure on the team and allowed us to continue looking for more goals and play our game. When you’re fighting at the bottom of the table, an early goal can really help relieve pressure and allow you to express yourself.
“I think we’ve been a little bit unlucky in our recent matches and I think if you’ve watched us in the last couple of games you would say we’ve deserved better because of how hard we’ve worked.
"I’m really happy that we’ve been able to show everyone what we’re capable of. It’s been a fantastic day,” she added.
Dali and her team-mates produced a scintillating first half showing, with Martha Thomas scoring her first professional career hattrick to help move West Ham United out of the relegation place and up to 10th position in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
The French international was delighted for Thomas and also her fellow countrywomen, Hawa Cissoko.
“I’m almost happier about the assist for Martha to be honest rather than my goal. She deserved all of the goals she got this afternoon; she works so hard for the team. Every day we work together on building a connection in terms of being able to find each other without really thinking and I was so happy for her today.
“I’m delighted for all of the players, but especially Hawa, who played her first 90 minutes for the team and I thought she was superb.
“We never gave up on anything this afternoon, and that’s the attitude that this team has, working hard right until the full-time whistle.”
The East Londoners picked up their first clean sheet of the calendar year at the Madejski, one that Dali believes was hard-earned and that every player should be proud of.
“It was a massive effort from the team to make sure that we got the clean sheet and I thought we played really well as a team today. Even during this tough period, our team spirit hasn’t wavered, and I think we showed that to everyone today. We always knew that this day was going to come, we didn’t know when, but we knew we had a performance like this in us and I’m so thankful that it arrived."
With five league matches left until the end of the season, which includes two games against Aston Villa, Olli Harder’s side will be looking to pick up as many points as possible to make sure that they stay in the top division for next season.
“The position we’re in at the moment is not a fair reflection of the team when you see us individually or collectively, but we can’t dwell on that. We need to make sure that we continue to pick up points and get ourselves away from the relegation places.
“The objective is always to take three points in every game that we play. Every game in this league is different and every game is tough, but we’ve shown today that we can more than compete when we’re performing to our potential. We’ve got 5 games to go with a possible 15 points available, so we’re going to aim to try and pick up as many as we possibly can,” Dali said.
Read the reaction of hattrick hero Martha Thomas by clicking here.