Willie Kirk

Kirk: Going Into The Game With Confidence

New manager Willie Kirk has been impressed with LCFC Women's application as the Foxes prepare for a trip to West Ham United Women in the Barclays Women’s Super League.
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City travel to the capital this Sunday to take on a West Ham side who are looking to return to winning ways following two successive defeats. Meanwhile, the Foxes are hoping that a win will lift the confidence within the group as the Christmas period fast approaches.

Ahead of this weekend’s fixture, the manager gave his thoughts in Friday’s press conference at Belvoir Drive.  

Positive two weeks

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Willie Kirk
Willie Kirk

Willie Kirk watching LCFC Women train at Belvoir Drive.

Heading into only his second game in charge, Kirk has utilised the recent international break and believes his side can learn and build on the home defeat to Arsenal on the last matchday.

“The past couple of weeks have been a bit manic,” he stated during the press conference. “But I’ve done it for 12 years, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being back on the grass with the players, and it’s been a really positive two weeks.

“They’ve been receptive of what we’re trying to achieve and I’ve been impressed by their application and work ethic. They’re asking questions, challenging one another, both physically and mentally, so I think the players are enjoying it.

“A fresh start is the way we’ve all approached it. Everyone has bought in to what we’re trying to do, in terms of the intensity of training and we’ll continue to take the positives of that to allow us to compete in games a little better, so I‘m delighted to have worked with the players so far.”

A look at the opposite camp 

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West Ham United Women
West Ham United Women

West Ham players celebrate a WSL win against Aston Villa.

With new West Ham manager - and former Fox - Paul Konchesky taking charge this summer, the Hammers have picked up nine points from their opening seven games and Kirk admires what the Londoners have achieved so far.

He added: “They have caused teams problems on the counter-attack but also left themselves open at times, so we want to capitalise on that and find spaces to play in. They’ve been impressive with how quickly they can get the ball from one end to another.

“I think West Ham are known for their work-rate and their aggression so we’ve got to match that before we can think about anything else. I just want them to be brave on the ball in possession.

“They’ve proven they can do what we’re asking them to do. We showed them clips of training this morning and hopefully that gives them the belief to go and play a certain type of football we’re asking them to play.

“Paul was already internal at the club so that’s probably helped them hit the ground running. The signings gelled quickly, and they’ve accumulated some positive points, so it will be tough game, but the squad will head into it full of hope and confidence.”

The task ahead

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Natasha Flint
Natasha Flint

Natasha Flint during a training session at Belvoir Drive.

Even though Leicester currently sit at the bottom of the WSL, a single win would draw them back level with Reading and Liverpool, and the quality seen from his team leaves the manager confident of turning things around.

Kirk explained: “Ultimately, we need to get points on the board as quickly as possible and that is the single aim over the next few weeks in the build up to Christmas. We know what points we want to achieve between now and the end of the season, and that’s what we’re focused on.

“I think conditioning levels is one thing we identified early that needs to be improved, but the players have responded well. We’ve had shorter but more intense sessions; we’ve done a lot of off-the-ball work and the players were excellent so hopefully we can take that into Sunday’s game.

“They need to bring big hearts and a mental resilience to the pitch themselves, it’s not something the coach can help so much with, they need to bring those ingredients themselves. But so far, we’ve got a real technical grip and I don’t think we’ll struggle in that department.”

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