Carla Ward: City Are Still Formidable Opponents

Impetus’ Nathan Edwards was in Aston Villa head coach Carla Ward‘s media conference for us yesterday as she disregarded opponents Manchester City’s big-name losses and looks ahead to her own team’s further development this season (17/9/22).

Above: Aston Villa head coach Carla Ward. Photo: AVWFC Official.

Carla Ward has loved “people saying we will get relegated” ahead of their opening WSL game against a Manchester City team that has had a hectic summer transfer window.

City head to Villa Park in a redefined shape after big departures during the transfer window. However, despite Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, and Caroline Weir’s transfers, Ward still expects a familar opponent.

The 38-year-old said, “Man City are still very strong, their squad is unbelievably experienced and it still has got a lot of quality.

“I know you are looking for a line for me to say they are going to go to pot, but they are not. They have world-class internationals and they have recruited well after losing some big players.

“Do I think they will finish top three? Absolutely. We won’t underestimate them but it is down to us and we can’t fear them.”

The Citizens have seen nine players leave this window, but Ward still believes they will head into Sunday’s fixture as favourites and it is also a chance to see a new-look Villa side.

Above: Aston Villa’s new signing, Lionesses star Rachel Daly. Photo: AVWFC Official.

The Villans added Euro winner Rachel Daly, who started all of England’s games in their victorious campaign as a left-sided defender, but the Lionesses star will lead the line for Ward’s side.

“She played at left back for her country because she is a wonderfully talented footballer and you have to find a spot for Rachel Daly.

“She is an unbelievable human being, with a lot of quality on and off the pitch, but she comes in as a forward for us,” said the Villa manager

With the English international’s arrival from Houston Dash, Villa will hope to have someone who can score the goals needed to see them improve on last season’s ninth-place finish.

“We will be pleased with anything top eight. We have to keep improving each year, and I have seen people say we will get relegated which I love and be sure to put up on the wall.

“But Aston Villa as a club aren’t here to try to run before we can walk. It is a project that will slowly but surely make those steps.

“We believe we have had a good summer, which will help us get on the right track and some of the people we have brought in have allowed our youth team players to step up as well.

“We have a really good blend of youth and experience because the likes of Laura Brown, Izzy Goodwin, Freya Gregory, and Olivia McLoughlin are all knocking on the door for starting shirts, and that has been made possible with the guidance from the players we have brought in.”

The game on Sunday is also the first of four games being contested at Villa Park, Aston Villa men’s home ground, this season. Ward said “It will be good to play at Villa Park, but the build-up is like no other. Everything we do now is for points and we need to be ready to take points.”

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