West Ham boss Beard plays down favorites tag ahead of FA Cup clash with Villans

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 March 2019

West Ham United Women manager Matt Beard (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

West Ham United Women manager Matt Beard (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

West Ham Women manager Matt Beard has played down the favourites tag ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final tie with Aston Villa.

Hammers make the trip to the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground to face the FA Women’s Championship side as they look to progress into the semi-final of the cup competition and edge one step closer to Wembley.

And 41-year-old Beard insists Villa have been together a lot longer than his squad but he is still backing his squad to get the job done.

“They’re a team that have been together for years, we’ve a team that got put together in six to eight weeks, and I think we’ve done ok this season,” the boss said.

“We’ve lost some games that we should have won, for me we’re going into that game knowing it’s going to be tough as it’s an astro-turf pitch something we’re not used to playing on.

“Obviously they’re at home and going to be up for it, but we’ve got enough quality in this dressing room to be able to deal with any pressure that get’s thrown at us.

“We’ve got a lot of international players and a lot of players that have played for big clubs and been in more big pressure games than this one will be on Sunday.

“We’ll take it in our stride and do our utmost to make sure that we’re in the semi-final.”

The former Liverpool manager is backing his side to be up for the occasion knowing they are so close to playing at Wembley in the FA Cup final now – despite losing 1-0 to Everton on Wednesday evening.

“You’re talking two games away from Wembley, so I don’t think the players need motivating for that, you’ve seen the performance tonight (Wednesday) the commitment levels of the players.

“Like I said to the girls after the game, it was one of them 90 minutes; we could probably played for two hours and not scored.”

Villa are unbeaten in five consecutive matches in all competitions and Beard says his side must be prepared if they want to progress.

“We’ve got a quick turnaound and it’s going to be a tough game away from home.

“Aston Villa have been in really good form, but I feel we’ve got enough quality in our squad to get through the tie.

“We need to be fully prepared though.”

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