West Ham’s 2023/24 WSL campaign kicked off last weekend with our Hammers facing Manchester City.
West Ham fell to defeat despite a strong performance, and Kirsty Smith speaks to whufc.com as she believes the team can build on their performance last Sunday.
Second half goals from Lauren Hemp and Jill Roord saw the Citizens take home the three points on the opening day of the Women’s Super League. Both teams put out a spirited performance and West Ham, at times, looked dangerous.
Riko Ueki made her debut in claret and blue, and almost came close to scoring her first goal for the team. At the other end, Kirsty Smith held strong in defence making it very hard for City to break through. Mackenzie Arnold was able to deny the visitors a goal, after Chloe Kelly stepped up to the spot following a call for handball in the box.
Smith spoke to West Ham’s official website at full time about how she believes there was lots to take home from that game and build on after the first competitive game under new manager, Rehanne Skinner.
“I think there’s lots of positives we can take from the game,” she explained.
“We defended really well, we kept ourselves in it and made a few good chances – we’ve just got to convert those chances. It’s something we can really work on going into the next couple of games. Going forward, we have creativity, we just have to perfect the final part and get the goals.
“It takes a lot to come back from [conceding after half time], but the penalty save gave us a lot of confidence to try and get back into it. Unfortunately, they managed to get another goal.
“But even towards the end, we were really positive towards the end, all that was missing was the goals.”
Skinner has previously spoken on how she feels that she can turn this team around, of course that doesn’t happen overnight, and it will take some getting used to, and Smith agrees.
“I think we’ve got a lot of confidence going into games. We’ve had a great pre-season and I think we need to continue building on that. We’re getting a lot more of the ball with a different style of play.
“We’ve been working on that throughout the pre-season, and I think that showed today in some of our play.”
There has been a long wait for the return of the WSL following the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which took place in Australia and New Zealand over the summer. Smith had plenty of praise for the fans who continued to support the team throughout pre-season and is calling them to stick with the team over the course of this campaign.
“It’s been a long time [since we played a competitive game]. We’ve had a long pre-season, but it was great to be back out there. It was frustrating to lose, but it’s something to build on going into [Brighton] next week.
“You could hear them [the fans] all the way through to the last minute. It’s always appreciated that they stay with us, and we want that in every game.
“The support gives you the motivation to keep going in these games, it’s great to have them cheering us on,” she explained.
Written by Katie Vine.