Just a week on from Aston Villa’s opening day defeat to Manchester United at Villa Park, Carla Ward expressed optimism ahead of her side’s trip to face Liverpool at Prenton Park.
With Kirsty Hanson was shown a red card for a high challenge on Hayley Ladd with little over fifteen minutes of regulation time remaining, many questioned how the Scottish international would react – although Carla Ward praised her for being ‘the normal Kirsty Hanson we get, day in, day out – so that’s credit to her.’
Ward was seemingly happy with how her team performed against Marc Skinner’s Red Devils, despite failing to pick up any points as Rachel Daly’s opener was quickly followed by a Lucía García strike – before Rachel Williams sealed the win for the away side in stoppage time.
But the Villa boss was most impressed by her side’s elite mentality, adding that ‘we’ve got a group that very quickly tried to take the lighthearted approach with [Hanson]… this is a tight-knit group, we all look after each other.’Embed from Getty Images
Carla Ward then waxed lyrical about her opposite number this weekend, singing Matt Beard’s praises after he guided Liverpool to a stunning victory against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
‘Beardy’s a top coach and a top man,’ she added, ‘and I think he’ll definitely have them playing the right way.’
Since Beard’s return to Liverpool for his second spell at the Merseyside club, he has overseen the side’s return to the Barclays Women’s Super League before guiding them to a mid-table finish last season.
‘I don’t think it was a fluke that they beat Arsenal,’ said Ward. ‘I think they deserved it over the course of ninety minutes… we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough game.’
Liverpool v Aston Villa is scheduled for 18:45 on Sunday, 8 October – and the live action from Prenton Park will be televised by Sky Sports within the United Kingdom.