West Ham manager Harder failure to convert chances cost them in Arsenal defeat
- Credit: PA
West Ham United Women’s manager Olli Harder could find little to fault in his side’s performance in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday, except for their failure to convert several important opportunities.
Up against an Arsenal side who had won their previous seven games in all competitions without conceding a goal, Harder’s Hammers were understandably considered underdogs, but gave as good as they got in a largely even first half at Meadow Park.
For all of the home team’s possession, West Ham remained resolute, well organised and combative, three aspects which Harder greatly appreciated.
Although Arsenal did eventually go ahead in the 33rd minute courtesy of a stunning strike from outside the box by Barclays FA Women’s Super League top scorer Vivianne Miedema, Harder’s team stuck to their task.
Two big headed opportunities arrived on the stroke of half-time but on both occasions, Dagny Brynjarsdottir was unable to find the target.
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Arsenal continued to see plenty of the ball in the second half but West Ham also continued to carve out opportunities, yet in the end fell victim to a surging run and calm finish from Kim Little later on.
However, the 2-0 defeat still contained positives from Harder’s perspective and he said: “We were up against a top-class team, and for us it was about creating as much pressure as possible and not allowing them to dictate the game the way that they want to.
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“I thought everybody did brilliantly in terms of the defensive effort and application – seeing my girls chasing them around for 90 minutes on the pitch is fantastic, we just lacked a bit of quality in some big moments.
“I thought there were a couple of big moments for us that we could’ve done better with and that could have changed the game.
“They were under pressure the entire match – we did a fantastic job with that – and to go in at half-time 1-1 would have been a terrific reward for all of that pressure.
“I thought there were also a couple of decent chances in the second half for us, not to say there weren’t for them, but the result is how it is: a 2-0 defeat, and we have to move on.”