The situation for Birmingham City is tenser and tenser. The current season of the WSL is coming to an end and the Blues continue to find themselves in the tough battle against relegation. With two games to go, their next opponent is an in-form Manchester City side.
The original fixture was scheduled to take place in March. However, due to cases of Covid-19 and several injuries in the Birmingham Camp, the game was postponed. Ahead of matchday, Blues boss Darren Carter answered questions from the media.
Birmingham will try to bounce back from a narrow 1:0 defeat against league leaders Chelsea. Carter praised his team and highlighted their resolute performance, as they restricted the offensive London side to only a few chances in front of goal.
However, Manchester City have reached their best form of the season. Their recent 7-0 triumph over Brighton proved especially their danger in attack.
“I think [they] have a fantastic way of playing”, said the Birmingham manager. “You have to game plan for their attacking threat, especially in wide areas. That’s where they look to it to hurt you. But they’ve also got players who essentially can penetrate and get into good areas.”
“They are a threat everywhere and you have to guard against pretty much all areas, all across the pitch. So they try to dominate and occupy all the areas.”
Apart from their game plan, Carter highlights the importance of his side’s mental approach to the encounter with the Sky blues. Despite their current standing at the table, Birmingham still have a strong belief in themselves.
“I’ve always said to them that you can’t be fearful”, the manager said. “Respect for the opposition, but certainly not fearful. These players are in the WSL, the top of the women’s game, for a reason.
They’ve earned the right to be here. They’re very good players and we’ve proved that we can go against the best. (…) We know what we’ve got to do.”
Thoughts on possible relegation
Carter doesn’t think that it is difficult to manage the morale of the players as they face relegation. “You’ve got a big task to stay in the league, so I’ve had it from day one and I’ve been preaching to the players”. he explained.
“There’s no better feeling than proving people wrong when people write you off. (…) It’s very satisfying. So that’s the drive.”
The Blues boss continued: “We want to stay in the top division. Everybody wants to be in the WSL. You want to go against the top teams (…). That’s the drive for players, that’s the drive for the staff.”
Carter himself has experienced relegation in his career as a player. Thinking back, he admitted that it is the worst feeling in football. Birmingham will do everything they can to avoid this scenario. The manager emphasized that his side will “go to the last minute, the last second”.
How to follow
The game between Birmingham and Manchester City kicks off on Wednesday at 7:00 GMT. Fans can follow the fight for the three points on the FA Player.