Tottenham Hotspur Ladies’ Hannah MacKenzie: Lessons can be learned from Chelsea defeat in Continental Tyres Cup
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 December 2017
©Ying Pan Wu , Wu's Photography, wusphotography.com
Defender calls on Spurs to take confidence from Wednesday’s result and take it into Sunday’s game with London rivals Millwall
Hannah MacKenzie says Tottenham Hotspur Ladies took away valuable lessons from their Continental Tyres Cup Group Two South derby defeat at Chelsea Ladies – and can be proud for the manner in which they competed against their Women’s Super League 1 rivals.
The Blues’ 4-1 defeat of The Lilywhites saw Spurs bow out of the competition at the final hurdle on goal difference – with Bristol, who Tottenham beat, progressing out the group also on six points – but it wasn’t without heart, work ethic and character at Kingsmeadow.
And the towering centre-halve, who was utilised to good effect in central midfield against Chelsea, says they left everything out on the pitch.
“We can be very proud with our performance against one of the best teams in the world,” she said. “They’re the best team any of us have ever played against and that’s the reason why we wanted to be in the Women’s Super League – we believe we can compete with teams like this. They get results like this regularly in the WSL 1, so for us to just be promoted this year and then compete the way we did, it was quality from the girls.
“We didn’t look out of place. We held our own; we had a good formation that we kept with and a game plan which we stuck to. We knew they would have more possession than us, but we just had to stick to what we know we’re good at and see what we could do.
“We’re very proud of our run; we’ve beaten two WSL 1 teams along the way. We just went into it thinking we’re just going to work as hard as we can and see what happens - and it did happen the way we wanted it to until today. We competed against a team like Chelsea; we know we could have done much better against Brighton, though. It’s frustrating that Bristol went through and we beat them, but it is what it is.”
Karen Hills’ side held their own for large spells throughout the 90 minutes - and MacKenzie alluded to Lauren Pickett’s goal to make it 3-1 at the time as a symbol of their resolve - as well as apply some perspective to their shortcomings.
“We worked hard - that’s what we practise in training - pressing as a team and I think our whole team spirit works,” she continued. “If one works, we all work and I think that’s the best thing about Spurs. I’ve not had that at many other clubs, the team spirit is crazy; everyone works so hard for each other which is what a team needs.
“Even though key people and players were missing, we are a team and we have quality on the bench, quality on the pitch - and played how we know we can play.
“It was disappointing (conceding), but you just have to pretend it’s 0-0. We had to keep going, keep pushing because they kept pushing and we weren’t going to give up. The harder they went, the harder we went and that’s what we have to do.
“We can’t really moan, we tried our hardest and did all we could do. They train full time every day, we’ve all been at work. They’ve had time to chill, prepare for the match and we’ve been at our full time jobs and then driven here ourselves. It’s different circumstances which definitely help – but we came here to compete and that’s what we did.”
MacKenzie added the biggest take-away from the game is understanding that despite the obstacles of not being full time, they know what level of performance they need to reach to match their ambition.
“It shows the difference between being full time and teachers, paramedics and people that work full time compared to those who get to train and play football. The difference in fitness, quickness of how they play, knowing where their team-mate is before we even know where they are. They played very quick, whereas we tended to keep the football a bit more. It’s difficult but hopefully one day we’ll get there. We just need to take what we’ve learnt into the Millwall game on Sunday.”