Leicester City are "moving in the right direction" says Kirk
Willie Kirk on the challenge of Manchester City, lengths of added time, sitting joint top and more
Leicester City FC
20 October 2023
Leicester City boss Willie Kirk spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of his sides game this Saturday evening against Manchester City,
The Foxes have made a blinding start to life this term following their great escape from relegation in 2022/23. A 4-2 hammering of Bristol City, a narrow 1-0 win over Everton and a brilliant point in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United last weekend, The Scot’s side have certainly got off to a good start this time around.
Naturally, Leicester weren’t expected to be sat joint top even this early into the campaign with the draw against United a particularly eye opening result and one that Kirk wasn’t going to get carried away with.
“The United game in isolation was a lot of good things but it also gave us a lot of working on points. We found a way to hang in there, the players changed the approach and the second half we were much, much better.
“It’s a great reference point for us in that we need to start games like that and sustain it for ninety minutes if we want to get a result.”
Last weekend more than most, added time was a topic of discussion, with twelve added minutes at The Emirates and seventeen added on overall at Leigh Sports Village. Kirk, however: appeared encouraged by the new rule.
“I’m all for it, sometimes last season we were playing games where the ball was in play for 55 minutes, that’s not what I want. I guess the directive has changed in terms of getting exact timings which I am fine with, it;’s what the fans want too as they want value for money. We can’t be having a world where 55 minute matches are acceptable.”
Alongside Leicester, their opponents on Saturday, Manchester City have had a blistering start to life in the Women’s Super League. Conceding just once, in the eventful draw with Chelsea, City have beaten Bristol City 5-0 and West Ham 2-0 either side of that with their only new recruit from the summer, Jill Roord relentlessly pulling the strings in the middle for the Cityzens.
“We’ve prepared for lots of quality, physically good. I think they’ve slightly changed and they’ve become a bit more direct at times. It’s been difficult to fully analyse them because of the sending offs, the first 70 minutes against West Ham. The Chelsea game was really difficult to analyse, which we only could do up until the Alex Greenwood red card and the Bristol (city) game was just waves of attack, I don’t think Man City had a goal kick.
“It’s hard to analyse the basis of those three games, but what we do know is that they’re a top team and Gareth’s a top manager and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s about nullifying their patterns and threats and bringing our strengths to the table and seeing what we can do.”
With the greatest respect, what Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa have shown everyone in the last two seasons is that the so called ‘smaller sides’ can really mix it with the WSL big boys and even though the seasons race is only a few furrows in, Leicester could be the next in that line, but Kirk isn’t carried away.
“I think the only message it’ll send is that we’re moving in the right direction, Yeah, we’ll be aiming to win the game first of all and if we don’t win it, how can we get a draw. That’s what we’re setting down as a bare minimum of trying to get points from every game.
It’s difficult to do that all the time but it’s something we’re adding into our routine. In terms of sending messages out to the top four, we’re probably not in the position to do that yet.”