Manager Liam Gilbert reflects on United Women’s impressive start as he talks to Jacob Gill:
Following Oxford United Women’s impressive start to the season, winning five out of six games, Manager Liam Gilbert has emphasised the need to stay grounded while maintaining The U’s' good form.
“The mentality that we’ve gone into this season with is just about looking at things one week at a time. It’s the best start we’ve made since I’ve taken over, everything seems to be moving in a positive direction.
“There were definitely a lot of positives which came from starting off the season with a win and a clean sheet at Gillingham, and I think we’ve grown week on week. I think we’ve still got a way to go until we hit our ceiling - to be fair, talking to the players they know that and are buying into the process of everything we’re doing. We’ll just carry on building and working.”
After the opening day victory, The U’s then travelled to face an impressive Watford side, narrowly missing out on the three points by going down to a 2-1 defeat but Gilbert praised his side’s attitude in training and the fixtures that followed.
“We’d all love to win every single game, but it doesn’t happen very often if you look across any league system. But the girls responded fantastically. That was at the start of a three-game week and it just shows the character and drive within the group that they didn’t let it phase them. We went into MK Dons away on a Wednesday night and put in a good performance and then Crawley at the weekend – that’s three tough games in the space of seven days and we came out of it with six points.”
When considering what the key to success has been in many of The U’s games so far this season, the United boss acknowledged that it cannot be pinned down to one factor alone.
“I think there’s a lot of factors that go into it. I feel very fortunate with the group we’ve got. When they turn up to training this week they want to get better, they want to push themselves harder and that carries into the games. That’s probably the biggest thing for us, why we are getting better week on week, and why I think there is a high ceiling for this group of players and staff.”
“You’ve always just got to look at your last performance. For me personally, Cardiff are a team who I’ve never previously been able to beat, ever since I’ve been at the club. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that we’ve won the game, it was just the manner of the performance and the application from the players, the way which things can transfer from the training ground onto the pitch for a matchday. But also, the drive of each individual – it’s the individuals which make a team tick and we’re fortunate to have a group of individuals which are all pulling in the same direction.”