London City Lionesses kick off 2021 in the FA Women’s Championship as Mel Phillips’ side face Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon at Princes Park.
Prior to the festive period, the Lionesses were in tip-top form, winning three of their past four home fixtures. Last time out, Phillips’ side earned a hard-fought draw against Sheffield United. As far as Sunday’s meeting goes, the pair contested a 1-1 draw earlier in the campaign and with the two sides level on points in the FA Women’s Championship, a win for either side would be pivotal.
Lionesses boss, Mel Phillips admits that her side have been working hard during the festive break and the hard work they’ve put in will stand them in good stead as the campaign recommences.
“Over the holiday period we created some training packets for the players that were really holistic,” Phillips told the club’s website. “It wasn’t just strength, fitness, and technical ability, there was a mindset piece in it. There is a teammate player engagement piece in it like going on a 5K run on Christmas Eve together but making it a team competition. Or listening to an audiobook together, having some small group sessions out on the pitch.
“We just really wanted to stay connected and to continue to challenge ourselves and continue to build off the positive experiences that we developed throughout the first half of the season. I think all of that really helped prepare us and I felt when we came back into the environment that we hadn’t skipped a beat. So, it’s just important that we keep moving forward from here.”
Prior to the break, the Lionesses found a rich vein of form, winning three out of their last four home fixtures. The confidence and momentum from those victories is something that will prove to be key heading into Sunday’s battle with Crystal Palace and it’s a challenge that Phillips and her side are relishing.
“What we’ve done over the break has definitely allowed us to keep our momentum and we’ve got a pretty elaborate plan for how we keep it, create it and get it back when we’ve lost it. Those are all through how we prepare, what our mindset is, and our unity as a team. All those things will be a focus for us each day this week as we prepare for Palace.”
The Lionesses boss also admits that Sunday’s test against a strong Crystal Palace outfit is a great opportunity to showcase their great form, work-rate and creativity.
“It’s important for us that we go and put a good performance out again on Sunday,” said Phillips. “The players know what that looks like from an effort, attitude, preparation, and readiness standpoint.”
“I think we’ve taken incredible pride in the ability to be tough to break down, to have put a couple of clean sheets together coming into the break. We can score goals against anybody in the league as well. All those things will play a factor into it and we know that Palace is going to be a tough match. Like us they’ve improved throughout the course of the season and everyone will be difficult on the day.”
“It’s about which team shows up and has the will to win that game. And I think our players have done a great job in continuing to stretch themselves, and ultimately will look to separate ourselves and continue climbing the table after the weekend”.
For those wanting a taste of the action, London City Lionesses vs Crystal Palace will be aired LIVE on FA Player, with a kick-off time of 14:00. The stage is set, and we’re in for a tenacious, passionate battle.