Harder: We found the quality to get the job done
Olli Harder hailed his West Ham United team for finding the burst of quality needed to see off a stubborn Durham side and reached the FA Women’s Continental League Cup semi-finals.
Emily van Egmond and Katerina Svitkova netted in the first half for the Irons, after a tricky first 40-minute period, before Hawa Cissoko added a third to secure the 3-0 win over the FA Women’s Championship side late on.
Manager Harder was full of praise for Thursday’s opponents who, prior to this match, were undefeated in 90 minutes this season, but was equally as pleased with his team’s moments of attacking class and the clean-sheet his team achieved.
Durham are a team that have worked extremely hard this year and haven’t lost a game. They really put up a fight, but credit to our girls for finding those little bits of quality to score the goals.
“It was a classic Thursday night match, but we’ll take the win!” Harder told West Ham TV. “We have to give full credit, because Durham are a team that have worked extremely hard this year and haven’t lost a game. They really put up a fight, but credit to our girls for finding those little bits of quality to score the goals.
“The clean-sheet was massive. At the end of the day, having a clean-sheet is something that every team wants. You have to work for it, and Durham made us work for it.
“We put ourselves in a few situations that we probably need to improve on, but to have a clean-sheet is always a nice feeling.”
Czech Republic international Svitkova netted her first goal in Claret and Blue, and Harder was happy with how the No10 performed in Thursday’s fixture.
Svitkova played in the left wing-back role for the second half of the match with Durham, having also taken the role against Tottenham, and the New Zealander was pleased with Svitkova’s adaptality.
He continued: “I think we were just trying to figure out what we can do in terms of positions with Svitkova. She played as a 10 in the first half and then went to wing-back in the second.
“There’s lot to improve on, but that’s the team across the board, and it’s nice for her to get her first goal.”
There is a swift turnaround for the Hammers, with a trip to play Arsenal at Boreham Wood on Sunday, but Harder is enjoying the fast pace of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the quickness of the games.
“The girls will be off tomorrow and Saturday will then be prep for Arsenal,” He added. “It’s been a big week for us, considering we haven’t played any football and then three games in just a few days. Hopefully we’ll be ready to go.
“I’m really enjoying it at the moment. It’s been difficult with the COVID situation, but on the whole we’ve had a good response from the girls, and the Club has 100 per cent supportive of what we’re doing, and they can see the long term vision of what we’re trying to do here.”