"A missed opportunity" says Kirk as the Foxes face defeat in penultimate game of the season
Willie Kirk reflects on Leicester's 2-1 defeat to West Ham in front of a 4000 strong home crowd
Leicester City FCW
22 May 2023
“A missed opportunity” was how Willie Kirk described Leicester’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham on Sunday which means the Women’s Super League relegation place will be decided on the final day of the season. A win for the Foxes would have seen Reading go down and speaking to the media after the match Kirk thought “the occasion possibly got to us a little bit as they were so close to doing what they set out to do and would have been fantastic to achieve that at the King Power”.
Kirk didn’t think his side was unlucky despite having numerous chances. He remarked that his side “didn’t work hard enough to be lucky”. He felt in recent games against Reading and Liverpool they had been working hard enough to get breaks they deserved. “We were a yard off it and not at our best” he said about this performance. He continued by saying they didn’t do the same things in the match as they had been doing in training over the week, and again mentioned the occasion.
The Leicester manager didn’t think it was the referees best performance but we “should be aiming to play that well that the referees performance doesn’t make any difference and we didn’t do that”.
“We can only be frustrated by our performance”
With the relegation place now going to be decide in the final match of the season, Kirk said his players will need to perform against Brighton. “The players deserve people to talk about Leicester’s achievement and not Reading’s failure” remarked Kirk. He commented that they will now try and give players freedom during the week and get over this defeat. He added they have beaten Brighton earlier in the season at the King Power and “will need to remember what got us that victory and we will go there and try to win the game, it is in our hands”.
Ruby Mace will be suspended for the Brighton game after getting sent off against West Ham and Kirk said there are 7/8 players desperate to play in it with Josie Green (who missed the West Ham game but should be available for Brighton), Monique Robinson, Molly Pike all able to play in midfield, or they may change shape to something they have played previously during the season.
Kirk praised Mace who has been at Leicester on loan since January saying “she has been excellent, for a 19-year-old her performance levels have been exceptional and disappointed for her that she will miss next week” but she will learn from this. Kirk added he thought it was a red as both offences merited a yellow card and “that sometimes you have to be a bit mindful when of your own situation when on a yellow already”.
With over 4,000 supporters at the King Power Stadium for this match, Kirk commented that “they have been a huge help so far and disappointed we couldn’t win for them because to finish the season with three (home) wins on the bounce, that would have been a fantastic way to thank the fans”. He concluded by saying “they were very noisy today, the numbers were great, and if we can take as many as possible to Brighton that will only help us.”