With their first win of the new campaign chalked up – a Continental Cup group stage 3-2 over Lewes at the Dripping Pan – Crystal Palace boss Dean Davenport was left pleased with the show put on by his team.
Given a surprise just before the start of last season, when the FA awarded them Championship status after initially denying it, forcing the team to start readying themselves for another season in the third tier, the club fast had to put things in place for the step up. Although unlucky with injuries, the team failed to find consistency throughout the season and finished the campaign with three wins, two draws and 15 losses. Much more ready for the challenges ahead this year, the Eagles already have points on the board and now have their first win.
Davenport’s first objective, simple improvement from last season as he said, “Goals for the season? To be better than last season, we’ve got nine new players so that’s for us to start gelling and work our way up the table sooner rather than later.”
As for what people can expect from the Eagles this year?
“They can expect a game when we play against them, as you can see we’re starting to get better and better each game, it’s been noticed by the crowd as well, they’ve come up saying how well we’ve started to do and hopefully we’ll only get better within that.”
Having drawn with Lewes two weeks prior to earn their second point of the season, the coach used the cup competition to do what many of his contemporaries do and rotate his team, notably giving minutes to newer signings as well as letting second-choice goalkeeper, Emma Gibbon start,
“Today was totally different from the league match, you could see we started trying to play more out from the back, going through the thirds, that’s something we’ve been working on but also we have to remind ourselves that we have to be compact and that’s something we do base out game on, our good defence. And that’s all over the park, not just our defenders and I think we moved the ball quite well and weren’t as direct as people think we are.”
As for the goalscorers [Magda Mosengo, Cherelle Khassal and Rea Laudat]?
“Massively pleased. Three different scorers, three different signings, it was a positive start for the girls and hopefully we can take that forward.”
Dealt a blow recently with the news that experienced attacker Ashlee Hincks would be out of action for some time, Davenport is hoping that his young players still feel they can step up and learn from those around them.
“That’s the kind of message we try to put out every week, it’s not the first time we’ve lost experienced players, it happened to us last season as well but again it is what it is, it’s football, them kind of things happen but it’s for the experienced ones we’ve brought into rise and shine and get amongst the young players and let football know what football is about at this level.”
Crystal Palace are next in action away to Leicester City in the Championship on Sunday.
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