Aston Villa’s interim manager Marcus Bignot urged his side to focus on the positives following Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Bristol City.
The Villains were the dominant side for much of the 90 minutes but they could not hold on and a devastating last minute equaliser meant that the points were shared.
Speaking to FAWSL Full-Time after the final whistle, Bignot said “We have just got to be careful it doesn’t feel like a defeat because I thought we dominated the game in large periods, we created chances and created goalscoring opportunities.
“I’m disappointed in the manner in which we threw the game but we’ve got to remain positive and make sure it doesn’t feel like a defeat, because there are loads of positives to take from that.”
Despite dropping two crucial points in the fight for survival, the West Midlands side put on as good an attacking display as we have seen from them all season. Goals have been hard to come by for The Villains since gaining promotion, having scored just 14 across 19 league fixtures, the joint-lowest total in the division, and though their attacking quality shone through against The Robins, they were left to rue their missed chances yet again.
“We didn’t take our chances, it’s as simple as that,” Bignot explained. “I always say the third goal is really important in a game of football, if you go 3-0 up, nine times out of 10 it’s game over.
“That goal around the 75th minute mark gave them some belief but even then, the opportunities we had, the chances we created, we still should have pulled away again and gone 3-1 up, but that’s football and then they get a dubious free-kick and put it into our box and as you know, it’s 2-2.”
One positive The Villains will certainly take from the weekend is another strong showing from their three teenaged starters, Asmita Ale, Freya Gregory and Olivia McLoughlin, all of whom held their own once again despite their youth. Embroiled in a tense relegation battle, many would question Bignot’s decision to start so many young players over more experienced heads but their performances have shown just why the Villa boss has put his faith in them.
“They’re a joy to work with and they’re good players,” Bignot said with pride. “Experience is just is just an age and in my time here I’ve seen enough in them to show me that they understand the game, they’re very knowledgeable.
“I don’t look at age, I just look at the players and it so happens to be yes, they are young, they are in their teens, Olivia [McLoughlin] is still at school doing her exams but their performances say it all, I don’t have to say much else about what those players are like.”
Despite the result, Bignot is already looking ahead and feels assured that his side’s survival hopes are still on track. The Villains look to be in a good position going into their final three fixtures, two of which come against West Ham United and Birmingham City, teams just one and two places above them in the table.
“It’s still a point in the right direction,” he said. “They had to win today, we wanted to win and we were so close to winning. We have to focus on Birmingham now and Villa v Birmingham, that says it all doesn’t it, that will take care of itself. We’re fortunate that that’s our next fixture.
“It’s our game in hand over Bristol so it’s an opportunity to pull away even further. We’re ahead on goal difference and it’s an opportunity to get points ahead as well as goal difference.”
Aston Villa’s trip to Birmingham City will be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player at 7pm on Wednesday evening.