FA Women’s Super League 2: Lucia Leon believes Tottenham Hotspur Ladies are learning all the time
PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 February 2018
©Ying Pan Wu , Wu's Photography, wusphotography.com
The defender had an eventful game last weekend against Doncaster Rovers Belles after ending the 3-0 defeat in goal
Lucia Leon says Tottenham Hotspur Ladies are in the midst of a learning-curve season after bowing out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round at the hands of Doncaster Rovers Belles.
A 3-0 defeat saw Spurs succumb to a seventh successive defeat, however Leon urged the squad to maintain their belief and work ethic to get back to the high standards which saw them arise to this level of competition.
And although new to the upper echelons of the women’s game, the Spanish defender feels they should be adjusting quicker with the undeniable quality Karen Hills’ team possesses.
“Games at this level are hard,” she said. “You’re playing against teams that have a lot more experience than in the Premier League. If you make a mistake they punish you, maybe in the Premier League you could get away with some mistakes at the back and that’s the difference. That’s why we’re here though; we want to be those types of players and teams that are so strong in this league. It’s our first season at this level, but I still don’t think that is an excuse for us to not do well. I think we are a really good team and we have a lot to show. We’re on a tough run and it’s hard mentally especially to get over it, but we just need to get that first win and step out of it.
“It was a really tough game, we conceded very early. We both had a chance in the first two or three minutes and the only difference is that they put that chance away and we didn’t. Doncaster is probably the best team we’ve faced this season and they are really strong. I think we competed, tried our best and worked really hard. After we went down to 10-players the game got a bit harder - it was a battle.”
Leon - who stepped up to replace Toni-Anne Wayne in goal during the final minutes and was awarded the Player of the Match - also took a perspective stance on proceedings by admitting that mistakes which have proved costly in recent weeks, wasn’t the decisive factor.
And says the biggest takeaway is they understand what it takes to not only compete at this level, but to also pick up positive results.
“Last year you had a couple of rounds when you would play lower teams, but now that you come straight in against quality teams, it’s really hard to keep in the FA Cup when you’re playing this standard. This is a round that’s a lot closer to the final - it’s a tough competition and the biggest one in the women’s game. We just need to concentrate on the league and try and to get our first win of the year.
“It’s been quite a difficult few weeks for us; we’ve probably deserved more in a couple of games. We were making lots of mistakes that cost us goals in previous games, but in this game, we just couldn’t do anything about it. It was a credit to them, but we just need to keep working on our strengths and improving our weaknesses.
“We’re getting used to the tempo and to all the strengths that we need. Training is hard, matches are harder as well - everything is just two, three steps up from last year - everything is a lot more professional.”
The Lilywhites return to FA Women’s Super League 2 action when Oxford United Women arrive at Cheshunt FC on Sunday, and the athletic right-back is adamant they are doing everything right with their preparation, which will bear results.
“This is all an experience into this league,” she finished. “We haven’t played Oxford yet, but with the team that we have right now, with everyone working hard, we can definitely get something out of it. We’re learning throughout the season and have been playing against really tough teams so we’re getting used to it now.
“The left backs that I play against are better; last season I could make a lot more crosses from right back and that is something from my point of view that I need to try and get better at. It’s all a learning curve, we just need to get used to everything that comes with this league.”