Bristol City boss confident that club will progress despite relegation

Speaking to Robins TV after Bristol City’s relegation from the Barclays Women’s Super League was confirmed following a 0-4 loss to Manchester City, Lauren Smith insisted that her players ‘wanted to make sure that if we were going down, we were doing it with a fight.’

An impressive performance from the Robins kept Gareth Taylor’s side at bay – a remarkable achievement given that the Cityzens occupy pole position in the race for the league title. Reflecting on her side’s performance, Smith commented: ‘I thought we were excellent for sixty-something minutes, and what’s difficult is that a goal takes that apart. Even after that, I think we played our hearts out for the whole ninety, really pleased to be able to keep Man City at bay for that first 45 minutes and I think they were struggling to find a way through us.’

‘To go in at half-time and know that we’re still in it was what we all wanted. [It was] unfortunate in the end that Man City showed their class and that’s disappointing, but I think the players really deserved some credit tonight because they’ve been excellent.’

Bristol City have picked up just six points from their twenty league outings so far this season, but have perhaps been short on luck – an impressive outing against Arsenal in the first half of the campaign serves as the best example.

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Smith was keen to praise her players’ mentality and their approach not only to Sunday’s game against Manchester City, but the season as a whole. She reflected that ‘they were focused, driven and wanted to make sure that if we were going down, we were doing it with a fight, which we’ve been doing all season and they did that.’

Bristol Sport Group confirmed post-match that despite relegation to the Barclays Women’s Championship, the club will continue to play all of their home games at Ashton Gate throughout 2024/25 – and Smith expressed that ‘it’s brilliant.’

‘I’m so pleased that the club have backed the team and credit goes to the club for that, we’re just at the start of something – regardless of what league we’re in, nothing changes and I hope to see 7000+ week in, week out next year. I think the players deserve it, the fans deserve it and together we can just continue to get stronger.’

‘The fans have been unbelievable, and the fact that they’re still here stood behind you right now to hopefully see more players… we’ve created thousands of new fans for the club and I’m so proud of that. They’ve been brilliant, they’ve been loud. We’ve made a block in the last minute and they screamed for it, exactly what we celebrate as a team, they’ve celebrated with us. Whether they’ve come to every game or one, they’ve been amazing.’