After Chelsea handed Everton Women their second consecutive 4-0 defeat to start their FA WSL season, the pressure is starting to mount on manager Willie Kirk. The Board through Sporting and Commercial Director of the Everton Women team Sarvar Ismailov backed the manager over the summer, making nine additions to the squad and even breaking the club transfer record for the women’s side with the addition of budding superstar Hanna Bennison.
The schedule-makers did the club no favours however, throwing them against league runners-up Manchester City to open the season, and then against defending champions Chelsea next. However, after the club spoke long and loud over the ambition of breaking into the top four this season, beating the top sides remains an elusive goal.
Everton finished fifth last season, and lost all eight games they played in that campaign to the sides above them in the top four. From what we saw in these first two games, the new faces still need time to gel but there’s also a disturbing lack of effort, organization and commitment from the squad as a whole.
Speaking immediately after the loss, Kirk said -
“If we look at the season, we’ve now got 60 points to play for, and we need to start picking them up very, very quickly.
“With the players we have, the target still has to be top three, and I firmly believe that we’ll see significant improvements after the international break.
“We might have been dealt a rough hand with the fixture list, but we were excited by it. We didn’t write off the first two games by any means, and the next game out against Birmingham is a must-win, even this early in the season.
“We aren’t pretending it’s anything but that.”
An early goal proved to be the Toffees undoing just like it was last weekend against Manchester City.
“I told the players not to lose the game within the first ten to 15 minutes of the second half, but ultimately their second goal is what killed us.
“It’s a difficult result to take because we’d worked on a lot during the week in terms of improving on last week’s performance, and for large parts of the game, we did that.
“We showed good game management after conceding a disappointing goal and went into halftime at 1-0. The players were down, obviously.”
Interestingly, after last weekend’s loss Ismailov had made some comments on his Instagram expressing dissatisfaction with how things were going, and then issued a one-word tweet which has now been deleted after the loss at Chelsea, saying simply ‘Unacceptable’.
Again, Kirk deserves a bit more time to work in all the new players that have been added to the team, as well as making adjustments to his side, especially with the three centrehalves formation that is simply not working out. However, the pressure is certainly mounting and like he indicated, the next game against Birmingham City on September 25th is certainly going to be a must-win.