Bristol City boss Matt Beard - Photo: Chloe Knott for The FA

Bristol City boss Beard still backing his side to survive following Chelsea defeat

Bristol City interim manager Matt Beard believes that his side can still stay up, despite receiving a hammering at the hands of Barclays FA Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea.

Goals from Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr, Beth England and a brace from Fran Kirby, ensured that Chelsea took all three points with them back to South West London, following a 5-0 win at Twerton Park on Sunday.

Speaking in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Beard said “I think we can stay up.

“I’ve seen enough from the group, they’ve got a great togetherness with a great work ethic and I think you can see it from today.

“We’ve had a real intense five weeks and as the game went on, I looked at one or two of them for my own benefit as we’ve stuck with the same team consistently. The changes have been pretty similar so the last 20 minutes was used to have a look at one or two things myself.

“Losing 5-0 to Chelsea is a frustrating result, but they do that to teams week-in, week-out. I’m not going to let this define where I am, but one thing I’ve learnt from today is that we need to be a bit braver in possession, because we have some really talented footballers at this club that can play.”

Despite the defeat, Beard still took some positives from the game.

The Bristol City boss added “I said to them at the end that the main thing we take from today’s game is that we can play and we can compete at this level, and we make sure in the games that really count, that we pick up the points in them games.

“I never said to write these games off, I said at the start of the week that I wanted to give it a go, wanted to try and win it or even try and get something out of it.

“But I have to be realistic to know where Chelsea are and where we are, but if you look at our collective, we’ve just got to stick together and ensure we know the games that we need to win.”

Bristol City will take on Chelsea once again next month, when they lock horns against each other in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup final at Vicarage Road on Sunday 14 March. They will hope to record a better result against their opponents, who have scored 14 goals against them in both league games this season combined.

“I knew they’d come strong today, with a strong team after what happened against Brighton, and I thought they were ruthless today” said Beard.

“We can learn some lessons from that, we’ve got a home game coming up before the cup final, where hopefully we’ll be in a better position in the league that could give us the confidence going forward.”

Bristol City return to action after the international break on Sunday 7 March when they face Reading at Twerton Park.

Article author: Brad Saxton

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