COVENTRY United Ladies manager Jay Bradford insists her players need to be “ready” for the challenge when they host Crystal Palace this weekend.
The Red and Greens were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in their last outing after having Grace Riglar sent off in the first-half at Butts Park Arena.
That result means United remain winless after five matches in the FA Women’s Championship having picked up just a single point so far this season.
Coventry boss Bradford was pleased with how her side performed against the Reds and wants more of the same from her girls this weekend.
Bradford said: “Palace are a good side, they’re very quick on the counter, they’ve got some really quick players, we need to be ready for the challenge that they bring.
“If we can perform like we did against Liverpool, I would fancy us against anybody.
“I thought we were excellent, we were toe-to-toe, we matched them in every single area, we were having opportunities, we looked confident.”
United were in the game until two goals in the space of four second-half minutes from Leanne Kiernan compounded Riglar’s 33rd minute red card for pulling down the striker when through on goal.
Coventry had goalkeeper Olivia Clark to thank for staying in the contest – as she made a couple of superb saves to deny Charlotte Wardlaw and Rachel Furness.
Manager Bradford rued Riglar’s first-half dismissal but heaped praise on goalkeeper Clark who produced an inspire display in goal.
She said: “I can’t fault the players, they were excellent – the red card completely flipped the game on its head.
“Having said that, I thought we stayed in the game, we were compact enough and dangerous enough going forward that they didn’t have too much joy.
“Olivia was superb, when the ball is being loaded into the box, the first person you want to see is your goalkeeper and you want to see her catch the ball cleanly and allow the back line to have a breather.
“I’m really proud of my group, they executed what I wanted them to do as well as they could in the circumstances.
“If this game happened three or four weeks ago, we probably would have folded and conceded three, four or five, we’ve adapted our mentality and we’re progressing – we’re only going to get better.”
United play host to Crystal Palace this Sunday, October 10 with kick-off at 2pm at Butts Park Arena.