Tottenham Hotspur head coach Rehanne Skinner during the Barclays FA Women's Super League game between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at The Banks's Stadium in Walsall, England - Image by Sports Press Photo

Spurs boss Skinner praises her team’s hard work after extra-time victory over Reading

Tottenham Hotspur boss Rehanne Skinner was delighted with her side’s performance in their 3-2 win over Reading in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup fourth round on Sunday afternoon.

Spurs won the tie with an extra-time winner from forward Jess Naz to progress into the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.

Speaking in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Spurs boss Skinner couldn’t hide her pleasure at seeing her side come from 1-0 down win the tie.

“Obviously we are delighted” Skinner said. “The team has been working incredibly hard over the international break.

“We’ve had several players obviously out on international duty and to be honest, we’ve had a couple of games before the break where we didn’t play the way we wanted to play and we knew that.

“Everyone has been committed to rectifying that really and today, I just thought the players were excellent.

“All credit goes to them, they’ve applied everything we’ve worked on in training.”

Spurs’ victory at The Madejski Stadium was their first since beating West Ham Untied on 17 January and may hold a level of importance to revitalising their season.

“For us all, the FA Cup is a special competition and I spoke to the international players about this so that they understood what it means to us as a footballing country. I think as tournament itself, it’s always highly thought of,” Skinner said.

“We want to be in the cup for as long as we possibly can be so I’m really delighted with everything that happened today.”

A month ago, Spurs played out a goalless draw against Reading in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. Skinner was pleased to see that her team had corrected their mistakes on Sunday.

“We did learn a lot from the last game,” she said. “We felt a little bit like we could have got more out of that game as well but there were things, out of possession in particular, we didn’t do as effectively as we could have.

“We adjusted our press today to make a little bit more difficult for them and the rewards of that were us regaining possession higher up the pitch on a couple of occasions that obviously kept the pressure on.

“We asked quite a lot of questions of how they were going to get out of that early on in the game and that set the tone for us really.”

Going into extra-time with the scores level at 2-2, Skinner brought on full-back Ashleigh Neville. The defender had been out injured for 11 weeks but returned by charging down the field and providing the assist for Naz’s winner. Her manager was impressed with her influence.

Skinner said “Ashleigh is a great player. She’s been out for 11 weeks and she steps back on the pitch and just looks like she hasn’t been missing,

“I think that’s credit to how much of a professional she is in the context of getting herself back in the right place to be able to have an impact like that in the game,

“I’m fortunately in a position where she can start to get more and more minutes now she is returning from that injury.”

The game provided some outstanding goals with Alanna Kennedy’s strike being one of them, the player scoring from a superbly taken free-kick from the edge of the area. During her celebration she pointed towards the bench and FAWSL Full-Time wondered if Kennedy was tributing her goal to her manager.

“I’d love to say yes but no,” Skinner said. “I’ve been with her for five minutes in the whole scheme of things really in the context of her whole career.

“She works really hard on the training pitch, every single training session she practices her free-kicks.

“I think off the back of that, it gives her the opportunity to really score when it matters.”

After seeing off Reading, Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Sheffield United to The Hive in the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.

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