Carla Ward asserts that Aston Villa will compete head-to-head with WSL heavyweights.

Carla Ward, the manager of Aston Villa, said she is ‘unbelievably proud’ of her team’s performance against Manchester United despite disputed refereeing decisions that resulted in a 2-1 loss.

Aston Villa’s home hopes were dashed after Rachel Daly’s goal in the closing 20 minutes gave them hope of their first victory over Manchester United.

The Villans put in a brave performance, but were unable to hang onto the three points because Lucia Garcia quickly responded from the corner after Kirsty Hanson was dismissed.

Despite an overall encouraging effort to start things off, a last-ditch opportunity for the visitors resulted in heartbreak for the Villa Park faithful. A record 12,533 people were present, but the majority were left unhappy.

Villa has already lost to the Red Devils in extra time, losing a dramatic 3-2 match in their previous meeting in April to a late Millie Turner goal.

Despite the game’s dismal ending, Ward has been inspired by the team’s previous performances as they have continued to push for a top-four spot.

“It’s frustrating, really frustrating, but look, we competed so well today in the first half,” the Aston Villa boss stated.

We inserted Ebony (Salmon) to help us squeeze and apply a little more pressure to the ball because we were already compact but wanted to do so.

“Look, a couple of years ago, we wouldn’t have competed with these teams; we were getting destroyed by Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and City; now, however, we are competing and going toe-to-toe with them, so that’s incredibly significant.

“This league’s going to be fascinating this year, I think everyone’s improved and I think you’re going to see tighter games, which is excellent for the league, excellent for everyone involved.”

arbitrating matches
While underlining her side’s character and resolve despite losing, Ward highlighted several heated situations that occurred at crucial stages in the match during a chaotic conclusion to the event.

“I think the crucial decisions were against us.

“11 v 11, foul – Maya Le Tissier Whatever you want to call Emily Salmon’s red card, it’s undoubtedly the most obvious you’ll ever see. Upon receiving it back, I grimaced; yes, it was a red card, but since it was on the edge of the box, could it not technically have been a penalty kick? I’d have to view it again to know for sure.

One thing I will say is that I’m incredibly pleased of our players because they didn’t get caught up in it, kept playing, and shown heart. That is what makes us who we are; we’re a character group, and we persevered in the face of adversity.

The red card challenge from Kirsty Hanson

Hanson’s high-foot challenge on Hayley Ladd, which occurred during a poignant moment in the game, caused Villa to play without a player until Rachel Daly opened the scoring two minutes later.

The event was overshadowed by a brief moment of mayhem as the former Red Devil rejoined the Second City as a permanent member this term.

Of course, she’s devastated, said Ward.

On a football field, Kirsty Hanson is the person least likely to cause harm, but she will undoubtedly be sad since, of course, she wanted to help and attempt to win the game.

Kirsty will be alright because we’ll take care of her, she’s with a fantastic bunch of people, and she will be fine.

On a more encouraging note, Daphne van Domselaar made her debut in the opening game after joining from FC Twente.

The 23-year-old has recently emerged as a player to watch after making an impression with the Netherlands national team on the international stage. The goalkeeper has already made her mark in the WSL with impressive saves to deny Geyse and Katie Zelem.

Ward praised her new number one right away and expressed great expectations for the rookie.

She said, “She’s unbelievable, I think she’s got the potential to be one of the best in the world if not the best in the world, but I thought she had a very, very, very solid debut in goal.”


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