London City Lionesses interim head coach Melissa Phillips insists she is more worried about making an impact on the team than concerning herself with her own job title.
Phillips stepped up from her assistant role to take charge of the Lionesses earlier this month after former head coach Lisa Fallon parted ways with the FA Women’s Championship side.
London City had drawn one and lost three of their opening four league games of the 2020/21 season before Fallon’s departure, with the Dubliner citing family reasons for the decision.
But despite a turbulent run up to the game, life under Phillips got off to a perfect start for the Lionesses on Sunday as they defeated London Bees 2-1 for their first win of the campaign.
And while Phillips was delighted to begin her reign as interim head coach with three points, she stressed that her future comes second to helping the Lionesses achieve their ambitions.
“My priority when Lisa was away was to make sure the club didn’t skip a beat and regardless of what my role is, the most important thing is getting the players in the best situation for success,” she said.
“Whatever happens from here, that’s my role and my priority. I want to make sure the club keeps moving forward towards our ambitions. I think there are a lot of discussions to be had.
“I’m just going to focus on helping the club move forward and preparing the team for the next game. I don’t think a title or role defines your leadership, it’s defined by your impact.
“That’s my focus right now, I want to make sure we’re ready to go for the next match and that I’m impacting our players’ development in a positive way.”
A penalty from Alli Murphy and Harley Bennett’s second-half strike fired London City to victory against the Bees and they will be hoping to build on that result against Blackburn this weekend.
“Momentum is a process of building belief through our preparation in training so that’s exactly what we’ll do - focus on challenging ourselves and training hard for the next match,” Phillips added.
“Preparation is what builds belief and that trickles into motivation and momentum. It’s about feeling prepared as a team and knowing what our identity is, what we’re trying to accomplish.
“When everyone is on the same page with what we’re trying to do, ultimately we can all pull in the same direction and I think that fills players with belief.
“Blackburn is going to be a good match for us, they are a dangerous side, but for us it’s about getting the mentality right, getting the performance right and making sure we’re prepared.”
Murphy’s penalty after four minutes was her first for the Lionesses after signing for the club from Icelandic side UMF Selfoss in the summer - and the Texan was relived to get off the mark.
“It’s always good to get a goal, especially the first goal, no matter how it comes,” said Murphy. “I was just happy to be able to contribute something on the weekend and it was a huge team win.
“I don’t think there’s a football player on the pitch who doesn’t want to score a goal so it would be awesome [to add more goals] but at the end of the day, I just want to help the team.
“Everyone is competitive, everyone wants to win and give their best game every game. The style in the US is a little different but everyone is still going in 110 per cent so it’s just as competitive.
“I think the vibe in the dressing room after the game was really excited but we don’t want to get caught up in getting our first win, we want to get our heads down and get focused.
“What I’ve learned in my first five games here is that no game is an easy game, no game is a gimme game so the win was great and we’ll take confidence from that, but it’s a new day.”
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