"We will be 100% ready" says Aston Villa boss
Carla Ward insists her side are ready for their tough fixture against West Ham this afternoon
11 March 2023
Carla Ward spoke to the media on Friday morning ahead of Aston Villa’s trip to West Ham United in the Women’s Super League on Sunday.
Ward started by confirming that everyone is fit and available for the match apart from the long-term injured.
With snow in some parts of the country (including Birmingham), Ward was asked about how difficult it has been to prepare for the match. Her response was “you have to find another way” and “they have had some really good meetings with the players this morning”. Ward added that at this point in the season “fitness and the way in which we set up shouldn’t be an issue, no excuses, we will be 100% ready.”
Unbeaten in the WSL in 2023, Ward was asked about confidence at the club. Ward replied by saying it is about “keeping feet on the ground, making sure we continue to move forward, raise standards and improve all the time”. She added the players are playing tremendously well and a joy to work with and watch. “They don’t discuss a top four finish and that is a stretch” Ward continued. She also mentioned that they take one game at a time and that a top six finish “would look like success”. “It is about telling the players we want more and important we keep going” were the Villa managers final thoughts on this.
Asked about how the team learn from experiences and build going forward, Ward commented that they are progressing naturally as a group of players and as a club. “We are in a good place” Ward added.
Villa played West Ham two weeks in the FA Cup and won on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Ward noted that the games between them this season have been “competitive and lively”. She continued by saying that if Villa turn up and do things properly then we have every chance of winning the game.
Ward was asked about if they have plans to defend against Dagný Brynjarsdóttir who has been on good form for West Ham this season. She praised Brynjarsdóttir saying she is a great player and will make any team in this division better, but you need plans to defend against them as a team.
In the league fixture at the Poundland Bescot Stadium between the two sides earlier in the season, West Ham’s Hawa Cissoko and two of their coaching staff were sent off late on. Ward was asked about if they would focus on themselves and controlling passion in the return fixture. Her response was that we will concentrate on what we are doing and not buy into some of the antics in some of the games.
Ward said consistency in the league is “huge” and the win last week against Everton “was probably the most pleasing of the season”. The Villa manager was happy with how they controlled that game without the ball, how disciplined they were, and how they adapted to changes throughout the match.
Aston Villa still have to play Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, and Ward was asked if they could still have a say in who wins the title as matches against the Villans aren’t seen as a guaranteed win anymore. “I like to think we can still play a part, and we will be doing everything we can to win every match possible” replied the Villa manager.
Ward said “it is fantastic” that the final games of the WSL season has been brought forward a day (now Saturday 27th May, 3pm (BST) kick-offs) to avoid a clash with the last day of the Premier League, and “it is a good opportunity for women’s football to have its own day” Ward concluded.
West Ham United face Aston Villa at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday at 3pm (GMT) and it is live on the FA Player.