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‘Our focus must remain on us’ – Beard

Matt Beard has urged the City Women squad to remain focused on what they can control as the Robins embark on the final four games of the Barclays FAWSL campaign.

The Robins host Arsenal in BA2 this weekend and City find themselves up to 10th in the league standings following successive draws on the road.

City have gone from “the chaser to the chased”, which brings a different type of pressure and Beard has stressed his group need to continue to do what they have done over the last 12 weeks to keep picking up valuable league points.

Speaking to Robins TV the City Women Manager said: “All we can do as we enter the last four games is concentrate on ourselves and continue to pick points up as we have done.

“I said to the group this week that previously everyone had written us off, no one expected us to be in the position that we’re in and the girls deserve a lot of credit for that, but now we’re in a different position to what we have been from a psychological standpoint.

“We’ve gone from the chaser to the chased now, albeit it’s out of our hands but we’ve put ourselves in that position. I think I saw a little bit of that pressure in the second half versus Birmingham - snatching at passes and chances that we would normally take.

“In training we have got make those little things better and if we do that then we’re going to be okay."

He added: “I wouldn’t say it was an easy thing to get ourselves in this position but things have changed slightly. We’ve just got to keep focused, keep doing the right things and doing the basics well."

 

Arsenal visit Twerton Park buoyed by four successive Barclays FAWSL victories and Beard is wary of the threat they pose across the front line.

“I thought Arsenal were excellent against Tottenham, not so good against Manchester United but they got the win,” he said.

“They didn’t play their best [against United] and managed to get a win and keep a clean sheet, then they’ve gone to the next game and very played well – they’re a dangerous side.

“Arsenal have probably got the best number nine in the world, besides Sam Kerr, in Vivianne Miedema, who is scoring goals for fun so it’s going to be a tough afternoon.”

Pressure can mount as the season run-in hots up, but Beard sees Sunday’s fixture as a pressure-free encounter for the Robins as they take on one of the league’s most formidable sides.

He has also stressed his team’s performances over the last month can give the group confidence ahead of their Easter Sunday match-up with the Gunners.

“We’re not expected to win from the outside looking in, so that takes the pressure of us. The pressure is on them because they’re neck and neck with Manchester United,” said Beard.

“As I said, we’re at the business end of the season now and there are different pressures on different teams and managers and it’s about how we deal with those situations."

He continued: “We can take heart from picking up two points on the road, a good second half performance against Manchester City and even a better second half performance against Chelsea in the Conti Cup Final, in terms of chances created.

“All we can do it focus on ourselves, prepare as best we can and if we can get something from the game on Sunday, it will be a fantastic achievement.”

Bristol City Women take on Arsenal at Twerton Park on Sunday afternoon (2pm KO) live on the FA Player App.

WATCH HERE


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