Everton Ladies manager Willie Kirk Birmingham City Women v Everton Ladies, WSL football match, The Autotech Stadium, Birmingham, UK - 08 Sep 2019 Photo: Paul Greenwood for The FA

Everton boss Kirk rules out European qualification after Reading draw

Everton could only gain a point on the UEFA Champions League spots as they drew 1-1 at Reading on Sunday.

The Blue Girls were amiss in a tight first half where chances were limited and continuously fell to The Royals as they took the lead through defender Rachel Rowe. However, Willie Kirk’s Everton responded strongly in the second half, finding a equaliser through substitute Nicoline Sorensen.

In the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Kirk admitted his frustrations as his side went three games without a win.

“It’s a frustrating Sunday for us, following on from the last result against Birmingham” said Kirk.

“Similar results, similar patterns in terms of being on top and having a lot of the ball but not having the killer touch in the box and that’s prevented us from picking up maximum points, two games in a row.”

Although there was a notable change in Everton’s second half performance, Kirk felt that Reading’s defence was impenetrable.

“I thought we started the game really well” said Kirk. “We never had the ball all the time, but we had it enough, in terms of staying on top and causing them problems, but Reading defended their box and goal really, really well.

“I just felt we probably needed a little bit of luck in-front of that goal, the way Reading were blocking shots and efforts.

“It was a well-worked goal when it finally did arrive.”

Before the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season kicked-off, Everton had hopes of challenging for a UEFA Champions League spot. Discussing whether that was still a possibility, Kirk stated “I think we have already dropped too many silly points to be fighting for that.

“The more frustrating thing is that we haven’t taken points off the top four yet, and that’s something that we have to change in the second half of the season, because that will lay the foundations for next year’s challenge of the Champions League spots.”

At the start of the season, Everton recoded four successive league wins in September and October but they are now experiencing a run of one win in their last nine league games. When asked by FAWSL Full-Time if the upcoming international break will help The Blues Girls, Kirk said “It could be really big for us.

“I think we went from expecting 14 players away to only having four or five now, so I’m actually seeing it as a huge positive.

“We’ve got the vast majority of the squad back, and we’ll work hard during the break.

“We’ve been working on that final third stuff for a few weeks, we had a big emphasis on keeping the ball better leading into Christmas and we’ve done that three games in row now.

“The final third work has got to continue.”

Everton will return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League action when they travel to The Hive to face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 28 February.

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