Post by Everton News. on Oct 30, 2014 19:12:50 GMT
Everton Ladies boss Andy Spence backs Blues to bounce back after relegation
“We’ve taken a step back but I’m still hopeful that the club can eventually take a big step forward”
Everton FC Ladies coach Andy Spence
Everton FC Ladies manager Andy Spence is determined for the Blues to bounce straight back to Women’s Super League 1 after suffering relegation after 21 years in the top flight of women’s football.
Spence’s team finished rock bottom of the table after failing to win a league game all season and finished the campaign with just four points – 12 adrift of second-bottom Bristol Academy.
For someone like Spence who has the club running through his veins it was particularly tough to take but the Blues boss is focusing on an instant return to the elite division.
He said: “We’re going to be one of the favourites for promotion and people will now be expecting us to win games which brings a new kind of pressure but it’s something that we should embrace.
“We’ve taken a step back but I’m still hopeful that the club can eventually take a big step forward.”
Everton have lost several of the big names in recent seasons with Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams and Lucy Bronze all defecting to neighbours Liverpool ahead of the 2013 campaign and England internationals Toni Duggan and Jill Scott joining Manchester City a year ago and having gone down, Spence acknowledges that some of his more high-profile players might attract interest from top flight sides, especially with many of the leading clubs having now gone full-time.
He said: “We have to acknowledge that we’ve gone down a division and some players might feel that they need to operate in WSL 1.
“We’ve produced our fair share of talented players over the past few years but we need to look at how we can retain them rather than developing them and losing them to other teams.
“There are discussions that we need to have as a club about how we can go forward and going down the professional route has to be one of them.
“It’s not an ideal situation when most of your rivals have gone full-time and your players are having to go to work 9-to-5 and combine this with their football.
“The full-time teams get more contact time with each other and longer recovery periods between fixtures.”
Spence steered his side to the FA Women’s Cup final this year and admits that club’s poor league form was difficult to swallow.
He said: “It was disappointing. Our ambition was to see how high we could finish and we just wish we could have transformed some of our cup form into the league campaign,
“It wasn’t like we were massively underperforming or being beaten heavily but there are fine margins.
“We lacked a bit of quality and you get punished for that in the elite level.
“It certainly wasn’t a lack of effort or desire that cost us but when you go six or seven games without winning it starts to play on people’s minds.”
Spence added: “We’ve all got to self-reflect, myself included and it’s no point in trying to shift the blame for what’s happened.
“We’ve got to look at what we could have done better and try and learn some lessons from this year.
“It’s been a tough season but I accept the responsibility. We’ve given a big chance to a group of talented young players here and I don’t want Everton to be seen in the future as a club that is not progressing.”