Everton Women boss Brian Sorensen is determined to keep playing the same style of football this season but knows they can be different with the new attributes the team now possess.
Speaking ahead of the Toffees’ curtain raiser against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday at Walton Hall Park Sorensen believes his team, which now includes former Manchester City and Liverpool defender, Megan Campbell, is still learning about the league but will continue to play possession football.
The system was often questioned last season, with some heavy defeats to Arsenal and champions Chelsea adding weight to the argument, but the Blues boss is happy to continue playing his system with the squad he has.
“Last year it was more about laying the foundations and the way we played sometimes hurt us,” he said. “Sometimes you get the ball, get stressed and want to kick it down the field.
“But this is how we play and this year there is still some learning about the league, where we need to be stronger and where we can hurt teams.
Our methodology will be the same but we can be a bit different due to the different attributes we have this year.”
With eight new additions to the squad, including Italian striker Martina Piemonte and former reading player Justine Vanhaevermaet, Sorensen has a wealth of depth and experience, as well as a multitude of options at his disposal.
The Blues won nine WSL games but also lost ten last season, and were the leagues lowest scorers in the top half. With an ambition to better last season’s sixth-placed finish, home wins will be essential and the new recruits will need to hit the ground running.
Last season’s top scorer Katja Snoeijs is Everton’s only absentee. The Dutch striker has a hand injury but is not expected to be out for too long.
One player who looks certain to start will be Megan Finnigan, who was this week named as Club captain, following the departure of Gabby George.
Brighton were one of the WSL’s busiest teams during the transfer window, adding ten new players to their ranks, including Jorelyn Carabalí, who will become the first Colombian to play in the division.
The Seagulls also announced a new skipper for the season, with the experienced Vicky Losada assuming the armband. Melissa Phillips will be hoping her choice of skipper and the new faces will help steer them clear of the drop and improve on last season’s 11th-placed finish.
A Hanna Bennison goal in stoppage time gave the Blues all three points in last season’s fixture. Snoeijs first half strike had been cancelled out by Katie Robinson, with the visitors looking set to claim a point on Merseyside.
But the Swede’s shot from the edge of the area was fair reward for her team’s dominance, and was also Everton’s eighth goal in the last 15 minutes of games last season, something which highlighted the resilience and hard work instilled in them by Sorensen.
And three points will do nicely for both gaffer and Everton, although the boss will be hoping that his side won’t leave it so late on Sunday.
Everton Women begin their 2023/24 campaign at Walton Hall Park against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday (1pm kick-off BST).
Tickets are available for the fixture here.