“It wasn’t about revenge,” Ellen White said matter-of-factly.
Arsenal Ladies aren’t used to being beaten - three league defeats in 33 Women’s Super League games pays testament to that.
So when Matt Beard’s Liverpool visited the Emirates and inflicted a 4-0 reverse on the Ladies in their first league game of the 2013 season, there was talk from outside the Club about what effect the setback would have.
Their response has been emphatic.
"We've got a lot of games left to go so we can't really sit around and rest on beating Liverpool because we have a lot of matches coming up"
Liverpool, league leaders going into the mid-season break, were clinically dispatched in Arsenal’s first game back after the summer hiatus. The 3-0 win was the Ladies’ sixth victory in seven games since that surprise loss in north London.
Ladies boss Shelley Kerr stated in the build-up to last weekend’s game that her squad had quickly put the earlier defeat behind them, a notion White concurs with.
“We really wanted to start the second half of the season well,” she told Arsenal.com. “We were really pleased to have won and score three goals too.
“I thought it was a really good team performance, especially in the first half. We knew that they would come at us after the break. Jordan [Nobbs] scored a great second goal so we were really pleased with how things went.
“We've got a lot of games left to go so we can't really sit around and rest on beating Liverpool because we have a lot of matches coming up. It's a good start to the second half of the season - hopefully that can propel us to winning ways in the next two games.”
Having defeated the red half of Merseyside, Kerr’s team must now overcome the blues if they are to keep alive of retaining the Continental Cup. Everton visit Meadow Park to contest the semi-final on Thursday night - the first of two fixtures between the teams in three days.
Andy Spence’s side are unbeaten despite a tricky group consisting of Liverpool, Chelsea and Doncaster. And in Toni Duggan, they possess the league’s top goalscorer - a player that White knows well after lining up alongside her for England during the European Championship in Sweden last month.
“Toni is a fantastic player,” White noted. “She's a great goalscorer, she holds the ball up well and she can run at players.
“But we can't just concentrate on one player. We're a good side too and we will not be letting go of our trophy easily. We're all going to fight for it and hopefully we can put in a performance. We really like playing at home but we know it's going to be a tough challenge. We want to take the positives from beating Liverpool into Thursday's game.”
One of those positives was the performance of Emma Mitchell. The Scottish defender was one of three Ladies - along with compatriot Caroline Weir and youth prodigy Freda Ayisi - to make her debut last weekend, producing an assured display at left back.
While that trio contribute youthful exuberance (Mitchell, aged 20 is the oldest of the three) Katie Chapman’s return to action has brought valuable knowledge to the Ladies’ young midfield.
Chapman too made her first competitive appearance of 2013 on Saturday, after giving birth to her third child, and White believes a mix of youth and experience in the squad can help the Ladies to ensure long-term success.
“Katie is a fantastic player,” White said. “She's very hard-working and is great at putting a tackle in. She's an aggressive midfielder and maybe we lacked that a little bit in the first half of the season. It's great to have her back and hopefully that will strengthen us even more.
“There's always a massive hunger in our squad, even with the players that have won loads of honours. We don't just rest on what we've done - we want to win more and more.
“The enthusiasm of younger players wanting to come through and win trophies is massive and it drives us on. The likes of Jade [Bailey], who played really well against Liverpool, Jordan, Caroline [Weir] and Dan Carter - we've got a fantastic mix of youth and experience throughout the squad and hopefully we can all work hard together and win a few more trophies this season.”
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