Holly Wright was in Reading head coach Kelly Chambers’ media conference ahead of their game with Manchester City on Sunday as her Royals side look to build on their first win of the season last time out (4/11/22).
Above: Reading boss Kelly Chambers and her squad are buoyed by last week’s dramatic win over Leicester City. Photo: Robin Parker.
After the dramatics of last weekend for the second game in a row where the Royals have now scored four goals in the last 15 minutes of play, Reading head coach Kelly Chambers goes into the game against Manchester City with no new injury concerns.
Emma Harries and Brooke Hendrix still remain absent as they have been for the last few games, however there is optimism that they could also make a return when the league resumes after the international break.
Reading return to the Select Leasing Car Stadium for the second weekend in a row with Chambers hoping for another electric atmosphere from the fans. “To have two home games in a row is nice. Hopefully we can build on the crowd that we had last week as they have been magnificent since we have returned back to the stadium. They are just that 12th player for us as they definitely were last weekend so hopefully, everyone comes back from the Leicester game, and we can add to that.”
Following the full-time whistle on Sunday the relief on the staff and players’ face was evident for all to see but the focus now turns to City with the fight for survival not over yet. “Sunday was a big weight off our shoulders to get those points on the board. We needed that and you could see that from the celebrations of everybody on the day.
“I believe the girls deserved the points over the 90 minutes. We are going into a tough game against Manchester City to try and get something out of it. We have got points on the board and it has lifted us out of that bottom spot, but three points still isn’t enough to be safe in this league. We need that to be our focus and we need to make sure that we keep trying to add to them.”
Reading’s head coach believes consistency and ruthlessness are key to build on what they achieved last weekend. “We have wanted to start getting consistency. We have got consistency in our performances, but we need to make sure that we defend our box and we have got to be more ruthless in front of goal. We have had enough opportunities to be ruthless in front of goal, we just haven’t taken them, but we are seeing the progress.”
There has been a lot of talk from numerous managers this season about the quality of officials in the WSL, and this is something Chambers has spoken openly and carefully about.
“We have had a frustrating start to the season. I have been quite open about some of that. It has been down to the officiating that we have had over some of the games. It’s frustrating when things like that have been taken out of our hands but we have learned from it. It’s been hard to try and take those frustrations of officials away from the players, but I have had to try my hardest to do that and just make sure that they’re focused on us.”
Two goals in added time from Rachel Rowe, her first goals of the season for her club saw her grab the headlines, but her performance has come as no shock to her head coach. “She does it in training every day, so we know she’s what she’s capable of. I think we are really starting to see the best of ‘Rowey’.
“She has had injuries in the past that have kept her out for big chunks of seasons, but she has grown in confidence. She has got a real role in the team now in terms of playing higher up the pitch. She can do what she does as we saw against Leicester. I think she has been fantastic this season. She has just got better and better as games have gone on and it’s just nice to see that part because we see it every day but it’s just nice that the whole world is getting to see that now too.”
Chambers acknowledged Manchester City’s out-of-character start to their WSL campaign, but insists they will be ones to watch as the season progresses. “They have started to settle as a group and are starting to find their feet. We know what we are going to face at the weekend. City don’t really change their style of play. They trust their processes. They trust the way that they play so we have got to make sure that we are prepared for that.
“They have got magnificent players. They have lost some over the summer and are in a bit of a transitional season, but I think they have found their feet as a team. They are starting to click a little bit and I think you have seen that in their results and performances over the last couple of weeks.
“The approach for us is no different. We prepare the same way every week and make sure that we have analysed the opposition. What do we need to do? Where do we need to be strong? How can we capitalise on opposition’s areas of weakness? There is probably no pressure on us going into this game. We go into games trying to get something out of everyone, and I’m just hoping last weekend has allowed the girls to relax mentally but not just switch off.
“If we keep putting in the performances, and we keep working hard, the results will follow. We are not hiding from the fact that we probably won’t get as many chances as what we might get in other games, but we have got to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. My staff keep reminding me, we are in a better position now than we were last season which sounds bonkers because we have actually scored more goals now this season than we had last season so again it’s just trusting the process.”
To read the opposition viewpoint on the game, Johnathan Stack was in Manchester City head coach Gareth Taylor‘s media conference ahead of the match here: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/11/05/taylor-city-trusting-the-process-at-heart-of-getting-back-to-form/