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

‘A tough day for the girls, but one they stood up to’ Everton boss Kirk reflects on defeat

Everton manager Willie Kirk was pleased with the way in which his side implemented their game plan against Manchester City at The Academy Stadium this afternoon.

The Blues Girls went down 1-0 against Gareth Taylor’s in-from City side but they were tremendously difficult to break down and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver virtually had nothing to do other than pick the ball out of the net.

When speaking in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Everton boss Kirk said he was pleased with the players for following the game plan.

“I thought it was a real gritty, disciplined performance,” said Kirk. “It is not the way that we want to set up long-term but today was a case of being pragmatic.

“We desperately want to take points off the top four, there is still a gap there between us and those teams and we want to try to close that.

“We came here with a game plan with a really sound defence and for long periods of the game, I thought we were going to take something from it.

“It was a tough day for the girls, but one they stood up to.”

After not starting a game in more than 12 months due to injury, Kirk threw centre-back Gabby George in from the start against City. The Everton boss was pleased with her performance as George formed an important piece of the defensive jigsaw alongside Megan Finnigan and Rikke Sevecke.

“I thought Gabby was excellent,” said Kirk. “I had to balance off where we were in the game and common sense and look after Gabby.

“I would have loved to have kept her on for the full 90 but we had to do the best thing for the player.

“She would have loved to have played for the 90 minutes but we had to get her off. Hopefully, that sets her up for the rest of the season now.

“She is a fantastic addition to the player availability that we have got. She might have setbacks but she will certainly get minutes between now and the end of the season which should set her up for a really big year next year.”

Everton are back in action on Thursday evening when they travel to Birmingham City in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

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