“I expect everyone to go up another level” — Carla Ward previews Aston Villa vs Everton

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks on.
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks on during the pre-season friendly against Everton at Bank's Stadium on 21 August 2021 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

It’s only been two weeks since Aston Villa and Everton last met. The game ended in a 2-0 defeat for the Toffees.

They surely seek to make up for the loss, when playing Villa in the WSL’s first midweek fixture of March. The West Midlands side are, however, after another win to secure all three points.

Consistency is key at Aston Villa

Speaking to the press before the game, Aston Villa’s manager Carla Ward seemed optimistic that her side can keep up their successful record against Everton.

“I know what I’m going to get from this group of players right now and that’s a whole-hearted effort,” Ward said. “So we can combine that with the football that we have been playing and then hopefully we can try and turn that form around.”

Opponent of Aston Villa

aston-villa-women
Ramona Petzelberger of Aston Villa celebrates with team after scoring during the Pre-Season Friendly Match between Aston Villa and Everton at Bank’s Stadium (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

However, the Toffees are not to be underestimated, despite their recent results.

“They have been unfortunate, I suppose at times this season, but they’re in a bit of a dip.

“[Everton] will absolutely not stay quiet for long, they have got players that are world-class in their ranks. They really have players that could walk into most teams in the division.”

Ward clarified that her side is under no illusion that it’s going to be a really tough match. However, it will be an interesting one.

“I would like to think it’s going to be quite an exciting game,” the Aston Villa manager said. She imagines both teams to play slightly differently from the first encounter.

Focus

When asked about her side’s approach to the game, Ward explained that their principles will never sway.

“We have to make sure that we’re focused, we’re completely (…) with the discipline that we have, to go out there with a mindset of this is another game of football, rather than the fact that we’ve just played them only recently.”

Player to watch

NORWICH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Hannah Hampton of England in action during the Arnold Clark Cup match between England and Spain at Carrow Road on February 20, 2022 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

After her successful debut for the Lionesses at the Arnold Clark Cup, goalkeeper Hannah Hampton is one player to keep an eye on.

“She’s young, she’s got to keep improving, she’s got to stay focused,” said Ward. “I had a meeting with her yesterday to tell her ‘now look, this is your level. Now you’ve got to make sure that every time you walk on that pitch, you’re hungry, you’re focused. You’ve got to get the consistency up now.’

“We’ve got to make sure now that little taste it is something that she wants to make sure that she can, really kick her on and try and get that again.”

Expectations

Ward has clear demands, not only for Hampton, but the whole squad.

“You’ll never ever play two league games against the same opposition. I expect a different game for sure. And I expect everyone to go up another level on Wednesday night.”

How to follow

The WSL fixture between Aston Villa and Everton kicks off at 7:00 PM GMT. Fans can watch the game live on The FA Player.

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