Olli Harder reflected on a ‘very positive’ last six weeks for West Ham United Women, as they extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to five matches with a 0-1 win over London City Lionesses.
It was a tough contest at Princes Park on Wednesday evening, but Lucy Parker’s goal with 15 minutes on the clock was enough to secure all three points as the Hammers made a perfect start to their Continental Cup campaign.
The FA Women’s Championship side certainly made Harder’s teamwork for their points, and he reflected on their overall performance at the full-time whistle.
“It was a tough evening out there, one that was more difficult than it needed to be because we were a little bit sloppy in certain phases of the game.
“For the first 20 minutes I thought we were excellent, then from that point up to half time I thought we were sloppy, giving away balls that we shouldn’t have and causing problems for ourselves.
“In the second half, I thought we came out really well, we just didn’t nail that second goal. Then towards the end we managed the game ok, then we got sloppy again. We gave them opportunities to get back in the game, but they just didn’t take it.
“We need to learn from this and progress,” Harder said.
It was the type of night where an underdog might triumph, a typical midweek cup match. But to West Ham United’s credit, they were able to withstand pressure from the away side, whilst also still calving out opportunities of their own.
It’s been a similar theme throughout the beginning of the season, with Harder’s team having only conceded four goals in their opening six matches. At this stage last season, the Hammers had conceded more than five times that amount.
“There are lots of positives though, we’re five games unbeaten now going into the international break and three points on the board for the Conti Cup.
“We’ve got eight points of the board for the league, undefeated at home and a big result against Man City, so it’s been a really positive last six weeks for us.
“There are always going to be games that aren’t always going to play the way you want them to be, but you have to still win the game, find a way to win them,” Harder explained.
“It was a typical Wednesday night game of football, full credit to our opposition – they made it complicated, difficult, and worked hard, so they deserve credit.”
I think the international break is an opportunity for players to work on their individual development.
The east Londoners now have three weeks until their next match, with several players heading off to represent their countries over the international break.
The remainder of the squad will be working hard ahead of the visit to Arsenal, West Ham United Women’s next clash in the Barclays FA Womens Super League
“I think the international break is an opportunity for players to work on their individual development. We’re putting some programmes together, we have plenty of players still at the training centre but it’s really an opportunity to reflect inwards a bit from an athlete perspective.
"There’s no performance outcomes for us in the next two and a half weeks, so we can just focus on that and help them develop as players individually.”