Kerri Welsh
We spoke to Aston Villa Ladies Club Captain Kerri Welsh about the disappointing loss against Manchester United and their upcoming games.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

After a disappointing 12-0 loss at home to Manchester United in the opening fixture of their new season, the Aston Villa Ladies are preparing to face Leicester away from home this coming Sunday.

We spoke to Club Captain Kerri Welsh on how the girls have handled the loss and more.

What has been the general reaction to your loss against a team that realistically should be playing in the league above?

Kerri Welsh: “As a group, initially our emotions were running high and we were naturally gutted with what had just happened over the 90 minutes.

We didn’t speak too much about it after the final whistle to allow people to evaluate and gain perspective. After those kind of results the worst thing you can do is start to analyse the game straight away – it’s important to sleep on it and reflect the next day constructively.

At training on Tuesday evening, we looked over some footage and the girls came with a very positive attitude.

We can’t spend too long analysing the result, or the fact that Manchester United Women are a full time, professional outfit, because we have to prepare for Leicester – a more realistic opponent in this league. 

United have some very good players and are extremely talented – we can’t take that away from them. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of support since the game, and I’d like to thank everyone. This group of staff and players will achieve big things this year and I truly believe that.”

Whilst it wasn’t exactly the way you wanted to start your league campaign, did you spot any positives in the game?

Kerri Welsh: “Yes! I thought the first 20 minutes of the game we played very well and gave Manchester United a lot of problems. We had chances to score goals, we pressed them high and they were struggling to cope.

I think the goal just killed our momentum, and they gained it and that’s where the turning point in the game was. 

We’ve watched the footage back, and at times we were the better team early on, playing a lot of one and two touch, switching the ball quickly and looking a threat.

Had we put away those chances and backed ourselves in the final third a bit more, it may have been a different game. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though isn’t it.”

In the next game against Leicester, can we expect to see changes made or is it a case of brush yourselves down and carry on?

Kerri Welsh: “We have two games in four days next week, Leicester on Sunday and Charlton on Wednesday – so naturally we will have some squad rotation and changes will be made. 

I’d expect to see a couple of changes and some fresh legs, however it’s the perfect opportunity for players to get some minutes and take an opportunity that could present itself. 

We’ve got a squad of 20 and it’s not just about the 11 playing every week. All of our players are very talented and more then capable of doing a good job.”

Some people won’t realise the difference between the United side and Villa’s side, and will simply look at the score – do you think the group have something to prove now?

Kerri Welsh: “I’m not sure we have anything to prove after that result, other than ourselves as individuals and as a group.

We know that when we play at our highest standards, we can cause teams problems and we are a very good team. No player or coach wants to experience that type of result regardless of who it is against. 

The positive thing for us is that we have another game very quickly, we all just want to get back out on the pitch and play another game and take all of our frustrations out in that match.

We’ve got a great determination within this group of players and staff and we will bounce back.”

If you had to pick a team-mate that’s been the most impressive in training since defeat – who would you say is putting in that little bit extra?
Kerri Welsh: “I don’t think it’s fair for me to pick any players out for showing that little bit extra – all of the girls are itching to put things right and get a result on Sunday.
I cannot fault any one of my team mates effort, commitment, desire or determination in training, they train extremely hard. 
They’re winners  – they want to win and for me that’s going to be crucial for us moving forwards this season. We set very high standards from ourselves as a group and ‘putting in that little extra bit’ is non-negotiable for me, and that should be the standard regardless of Sunday’s result.
Naturally people will start to speak about the negatives of that result on Sunday, but I hope that result doesn’t shadow what we have achieved previous to that and how far we’ve come as a group. I would imagine we won’t be the only team that Manchester United put double figures past this season.”

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