Kirk buoyant after Everton's Conti Cup exit

·2 min read
Everton manager Willie Kirk was pleased to get a win against a 'big team' in the Conti Cup

Everton manager Willie Kirk was upbeat about beating Manchester United, despite his side exiting the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup.

In their final Group C match, Lucy Graham’s second-half goal was the difference between the two sides.

However, it wasn’t enough to see them through to the quarter-final stages as an inferior goal difference meant they weren’t one of the two best runners-up.

Kirk remained positive about the outcome, especially after finishing second in a group which contained United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

"We have a huge work ethic surrounding the idea that it is not just the XI on the pitch as everyone plays their part,” Kirk said.

"This is a tough group and to come out of it with two wins is probably all I could have asked.

“In the Liverpool game we could've scored more, and that would have changed things, but psychologically this is big as we needed a win against a big team and we got it."

United dominated possession in the first half at Walton Hall Park but were unable to capitalise with Jane Ross, Millie Turner and Ona Batlle all having chances.

But after the break, there was a stark difference in how Everton played, with Hayley Raso going close.

With 15 minutes to go, it was Graham who got on the end of Raso’s cross to seal victory.

And as the Everton boss acknowledged, it took his team a while to adjust to the system he was playing.

Kirk added: "We set up in a way to frustrate and try and counter on United tonight.

"We played the different system we have done in the cup this season and it probably took the girls 45 minutes time to get up to speed.

"We had a couple of pre-planned subs and others on the night. Raso came on and added some pace to the team and that meant we could be a bit more direct.

"In the first half we played into situations that we shouldn't have. But after the break we improved and kept the ball better.”