After making nine signings over the summer transfer window and overall improving the balance of the Everton Women squad, manager Willie Kirk would have expected a much better showing from his side in the season opener yesterday.
However opponents Manchester City, who finished second in the league last season, tore up the script in the first half scoring thrice in a matter of a dozen minutes to take the game out of Everton’s hands.
Speaking after the game, Kirk expressed his frustration with how his side had played and particularly the small mistakes they made that resulted in the City goals.
“The players are very disappointed. We feel we have let ourselves, each other, and ultimately the fans down. We asked the supporters to turn up and cheer us on, they certainly did that.
“It’s one game out of 22 but it’s certainly a result that I did not see coming. I think it’s a really poor performance. Maybe the occasion has played it’s part.
“There’s no doubts in the quality we have. You could see in spells the problems that we can cause. The spells just weren’t long enough. The quality wasn’t maintained for long enough. We would give the ball away really cheaply. We talk about being brave on the ball. The way we want to play this season, we need to be brave off it as well and we never done that.
“Three-nil down at the break was always going to be difficult to come back from but as much as I thought the second half was improved, it still wasn’t the standards that we have been setting in recent times.”
️ | @WillieKirk reflects on a difficult afternoon for our Blues. pic.twitter.com/PsSuqwXghk— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) September 4, 2021
What made this worse was that the quick goals conceded was a symptom that appears to have carried over from last season despite all the changes made in the squad.
“Last season, we would lose goals quite quickly in a short space of time against the bigger teams. I don’t think it should have happened today. I don’t think City had to work hard for their goals. They found it easy to score their goals, which is disappointing.
“We have missed an opportunity today. I think we were better prepared than them and fitter than them. We haven’t capitalised on the things that were in our favour.
“We need to dust ourselves down, take all of that on the chin about letting ourselves down, and move on to next week.”
The Blues are in action next Sunday again, this time away at league champions Chelsea who will provide just as stiff a challenge as City did.