Everton Women midfielder Clare Wheeler is taking the positives from Sunday’s WSL draw with Tottenham Hotspur as the Blues gear themselves for two massive fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea.
The clash with the Red Devils will provide slight WSL respite for the Toffees, who will look to record their first Conti Cup win of the competition following a 2-1 to Manchester City in the opening Group B encounter.
It also offers Everton the chance of avenging the league defeat to Marc Skinner’s in October. The result itself was not reflective of the performance, with the Blues creating good chances unable to find the net, versus a ruthless United forward line
So far the Blues only have one win to their name this season, but have played better than that stat suggests. And Wheeler feels the perseverance shown against high-flying Spurs is reflective of the positive mood within Brian Sorensen’s side.
“I think Sunday’s result shows our perseverance,” said the Australia international. “The point really mattered to us and even though we went a goal down, we weren’t going to give up, we were going to put a shift in.
“We really wanted to come away with three points, but we didn’t want to lose.
“We have to look at the positives and look to rebuild.”
Wheeler herself looks set to keep her place in the side, with the midfielder showing her versatility by undertaking new roles within the team due to injuries.
Toni Duggan, who netted her first goal since returning from maternity leave in the Conti Cup defeat to Man City, may get the nod up front although Martina Piemonte looked sharp against Spurs when coming off the bench, while Katja Snoeijs is also due a goal.
Nicoline Sorensen may be in contention for a recall should she have sufficiently recovered from her bout of sickness, but the fixture has probably come a bit too soon for the other players on the sidelines.
Courtney Brosnan’s heroics on Sunday have probably earned her the nod over Emily Ramsey, although the Blues boss has often shown that he is comfortable with rotating both stoppers.
Group B so far
Defeat to Manchester United could signal another group stage exit for Everton, following the loss to the Citizens. The Blues, who are part of the only all-WSL group in this season’s competition, host neighbours Liverpool in their third Group B game on 13 December.
The Reds, the only team the Toffees have beaten so far this season, host Gareth Taylor’s side in their next Conti Cup encounter having lost 2-1 to Leicester City in their curtain raiser.
The Foxes take on the Blues in January in what will be Everton’s final group game.
There is no doubt Brian Sorensen wants to do well in every competition, but a tricky start to the season and a visit of champions Chelsea on Sunday leaves the Dane with big decisions to make, as a number of fringe players will be desperate to stake their claim on the starting XI.