The Dugout: Ladies #13Date: 11 April 2018 at 12:42 by Liam Cook
A busy week coming for the Red and Green Girls. Following a narrow defeat at Basildon, Coventry United Ladies head to Cardiff midweek and welcome Chichester to the Butts on Sunday. Manager Jay Bradford gives her thoughts on the week's big talking points with CUTV's Liam Cook.
Liam - United suffered a narrow defeat at Basildon at the weekend. Can you sum up your thoughts on the performance on Sunday?
Jay - To put it simply, we were not good enough. We didn't get the ball down and play, we didn't press in the right areas or play with any real quality when we did have the ball. Ultimately, I am disappointed because I know what this group of players are capable of.
Liam - The defence looked a little nervous early in the second half, which may have contributed to Basildon’s goal. Did the backline perform to the standard you expect?
Jay – As a group, we have reviewed the Basildon goal and there is not one single factor that leads to our downfall. It is a culmination of poor decisions, so I have no issues with my backline in regards to the goal or the performance. We typically don't concede many goals - despite the amount of changes that backline has experienced this season, so they deserve credit for that. They continue week in week out to help us create chances as well as keeping clean sheets.
Liam - On any other day the strikers would have scored, with two goal bound efforts cleared from the line and several top saves from the Basildon keeper. Did the strikers do all they could on the day? How unlucky where they to draw a blank?
Jay – I would expect my strikers to be scoring with the amount of clear cut chances we had on Sunday. We want to be a WSL side, so we have to adopt that clinical edge and we need to work the keeper at every opportunity. Of course, we had a shout for a ball that crossed the line and had a couple cleared off the line, but at the end of the day we have to put our chances away to win games, which in turn relieves pressure from the back line.
Liam - How has the defeat to Basildon effected United’s title chances?
Jay – It’s dented our chances massively. We now rely heavily on other teams, which you never really want, you want it in your own hands. We can only look at ourselves for the situation we are in and look to win every game. We will see what the league looks like when the last ball has been kicked.
Liam - A local media outlet picked up on your criticism of officials this week. Can you explain your frustration with recent refereeing performances and what can be done to rectify these issues?
Jay - My frustration with officials is not a new frustration. The referee played no part in us losing the game either by the way, so this is not me having a moan because we have lost, we won on Thursday and I was again perplexed by the officials performance. All I want is consistency in decisions and for my players to be protected. Referees need to be regularly assessed and fitness tested. This happens at certain levels of the game, for me this should go right down to grass routes. Officials are a fundamental part of the game, so they have to be at the level required. Emma Hayes (Chelsea Ladies Manager) has come out and aired her frustration, and only yesterday Phil Neville (England Womens’ Manager) questioned officials competency at international level, so the issue goes right through the pyramid. For me that's a real concern. I was a ref for 5 years, so I know the pressure and the ins and outs of that role.
Liam - For just the second time this season the Ladies face a midweek away day. What challenges do you face in setting up for a game like this, tactically and travel wise?
Jay - As a club, we have no issue with midweek games. There is actually something special about a game under lights. We face the journey to Cardiff following a day at work, which of course is not ideal, but we had a good session Tuesday so we are in a good place following Sunday’s game. Of course midweek has an effect on availability of players, so we have to knuckle down and play the hand that is dealt us.
Liam - That midweek away day is at Cardiff City. What are you expecting from The Bluebirds on Thursday night?
Jay - I think Cardiff will be a physically dominant side. They will be looking to climb up the table and to do that they need to overcome us. As I have said before, there is no easy game in this league.
Liam - And then it’s Chichester at the Butts Park Arena. What are your thoughts on this encounter?
Jay - First of all, I am praying the rain will stop. Chichester have made themselves at home in the Womens’ Premier League Southern Division and have picked up some really impressive results. Player recovery from Thursday will be key for us going in to Sunday.