It is hard to imagine Tottenham preparing for their third full season as a Women’s Super League club, as they nearly broke the ‘Big Three’ last year.
Their first WSL campaign was called off by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the 2020/21 season, which was played in full, saw them finish in a respectable eighth place.
But last season – marked by another year of consolidation – Tottenham took advantage of Manchester United’s incompatibility and Manchester City’s plague of injuries began flying in the league.
At one point, they were on course for a shocking Champions League finale but struggled to find the victories they needed to keep up with their opponents to reach the conclusion of the campaign.
While it was a lot to be proud of, it gives Spurs manager Rayhan Skinner a lot of work to do going into the new season, which they start on Saturday against Man Utd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which starts in the morning. Goes live on Sky Sports at 11.30am.
Like most managers, Skinner is a perfectionist – aiming to improve his squad this season – but also a realist and knows the league table at the end of the season won’t lie.
When asked if there was another top three push on the agenda, he exclusively told sky game: “That’s the journey for us now. We had a great finish last season, but we had some disruption in the Asia Cup in January due to injuries and the loss of a few players.
“We have to be better this year in the second half of the season. After that there has been improvement in last year and it helps us to try to finish higher in the league.
“We’re only one more season down the line, we’re going into our fourth season in the league, so compared to a lot of others, it’s very early days. But those are minor gains we need to get into next year. And now that’s the important part of it for us to focus on.
“When you look at highly successful teams within the league, it takes them eight or nine years to get to that point. It takes time, as much as I want it to happen overnight, that’s the reality.
“Every transfer window, you have to build, you have to strengthen and you have to learn from the things that are going to help you succeed. We put in a lot of building blocks last year and now we’ve got to see the gap again. And fill in the things that we’ve been working on in the pre-season, and reinvigorate the team.
“The biggest thing for me now is that we have to be better than we were last year. I’m a realist and wherever we end up we should be during the year. The table doesn’t lie so it’s something that needs to be done.” We have to improve.
“Had we had a better January or February, we probably could have maintained the momentum that we got through that spell. The last five games were also a challenge because of the density of those games and the quality of the opposition.
“But if you want to play in the Champions League, you have to be able to stick with it on a regular basis, so it was a good lesson for us last year. Those are all the bits that we’ll take out of it and put it into the program this year. To keep moving forward.”
Saturday 10 September 11:30 am
Start at 12:30 PM
A significant part of the improvements to that squad—as Skinner himself called it—has been transfers. It’s been a busy summer for Spurs, with seven new faces coming in, including the well-known WSL names of Drew Spence, Ramona Petzelberger, Amy Turner, Ellie Brazile and Angard James.
“The depth of our squad is much stronger than last year, so it’s a real positive,” Skinner reflected.
“We have also grown with our experience in our midfield, it has seen significant changes. A little more youth have been added to our forward line, so we have players who are quite fearless but need to adjust to the league So that’s something we have to work on.
“After all, we have players with good potential that we have invested in for the future.
“They’ve all come and added a lot of value in different ways both on and off the pitch. We’ve got a great set of players who work really hard to get everyone involved, everyone’s welcome. And when the players come here, they always give context to how they feel. That’s something that’s important to me and the team.
“Then when you get different experiences from the players that we’ve signed, when you tap into that a little bit more, you use those forces and you get them from your shell on the pitch as well. Let’s go out a little more. ,
“Things I’ve seen them do elsewhere, they start to unfold as the pre-season develops a bit further and then everyone looks at the benefits they’re going to bring to the team. That’s the process we’re doing at the moment. So I’m really happy.”
Perhaps two lesser-known arrivals help define Skinner’s hiring process. Forward Nikola Karzaevska – signed from FC Fleury 91 – and Celine Bizet Ildhusoy, who arrived from PSG in August, are both in their early 20s and ready to make a name for themselves in the WSL.
Skinner explained: “Celine is a player I was seeing last year, and I experienced that when I played with England’s youth teams when she played with Norway.
“She’s very good technically, she’ll take care of the ball, she’ll add value to dominate, which is something we want to try and improve on. She’s effective all over the front line so she gives us something in that area.” Provides versatility.
“Nicky is an out and out center forward for Poland and played in France last year. He has grown significantly in terms of his ability and his impact, scoring a lot of goals in the tough league last year.
“Ultimately, we wanted to get someone who was consistently more effective in front of the goal. He has already proven that he is capable of doing that and, physically, he is capable of facing our league from the start. She is in a very good position for the team. She will add huge value to the team.”
Skinner also has experience helping young players. Prior to joining Tottenham, she worked with the youth teams in the England set-up and for some time with the senior women’s team. It gave him a first look at the players who won the Euro 2022 title this summer and contributed to the success.
“I’ve been fortunate to have worked with most of those players, whether with youth teams or seniors,” she said.
“The culmination of what went into the summer is something that a lot of people worked so hard for, for so long and so hard. It was quite emotional because you’re thinking about the things that people did to break down barriers. , make sacrifices to reach that point. There is a core group of people who have done this consistently.
“I’ve been in the game for almost 20 years and I’ve seen all the phases of it and been involved in every level of the game, so it makes it worth it. It’s worthwhile that we’ve gotten to that point. to win the trophy.
“Sarina has done an incredible job of fixing the culture in the team, letting them play to their strengths, knowing the role of coming across as a game changer as you do when you start the game and how it works. Brilliant for the team.
“In the final, I’m not sure we were the best team on the pitch, but found a way to win and were resilient. It’s something we all need to take into the game because it’s the epitome of the women’s game – people How resilient over the years. At the end of the day got the same result.
“With the fans and the way it developed at the Euros was also incredible. For me, being on the field, one of the major things was the way the fans were engaged within the game. The stuff that’s around it There was a bit of Americanisation, but I actually thought it was a good thing because people wanted to be in the stadium with a different feel to the men’s game.
“I think it needs to be a different experience because there needs to be a different collective hold for the people who come in. We have to think differently about getting people involved, according to the fans, for the women’s game. Need to think and I thought that was a really cool ad for what we should be watching to grow our fanbase.”
While Tottenham now have their Euro 2022 winner in the ranks with Spence, Spurs will now be up against a Man Utd team with four more champions – Mary Arps, Alessia Russo, Ella Toon and Nikita Parris – when the two sides meet in the WSL. Season Opener on Saturday, Live sky game,
Tottenham will once again return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as they look to start the season on a positive note.
“We’re doing all we can to get the league started. The first game of the season, we’re looking forward to playing that game and it’s great to be at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium,” Skinner said.
“The stadiums we play in to get behind the Euros should really become more the norm and that is something that everyone in the sport wants. It then helps us grow our fans when we get closer to the fanbase. from the men’s team.
“It’s something we want to improve on. The early game is something for us to look forward to and for that you do the pre-season work.”
How to Follow WSL on Sky Sports…
sky game – All 35 games will be available on major Sky Sports channels, including Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.
sky sports news Running around the clock seven days a week, Barclays FA WSL fans can enjoy Sky Sports News (Channel 409), which continues editorial coverage of the league and its storylines throughout the season.
Inside WSL – Hosted by award-winning broadcaster and journalist Jessica Creighton, WSL. inside Barclays is a comprehensive roundup of all things FA Women’s Super League and women’s football. Broadcast weekly on Sky Sports Premier League, the half-hour show will review and preview matches including in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews. Viewers can expect entertaining access behind the scenes as well as summaries of all the activities on and off the pitch.
Sky Sports Social – Pre-defined Twitter channel, with coverage and visibility of the league across all of Sky Sports’ main social media channels @SkySportsWSL All Barclays FA WSL content will continue to be home on Sky Sports.
New in the 2022/23 season, the Sky Sports WSL TikTok account will give fans 360° coverage of the league and exclusive access to their new favorite players. In a first for the league, The Dub, a new Snapchat Discover show, aims to become the platform’s new hub for Barclays’ WSL content.
Sky Showcase – All Sky customers will benefit from being able to watch the opening weekend fixtures on Sky Showcase (Channel 106) without a Sky Sports subscription. The channel is designed to curate some of the top shows, movies and sports from Sky’s channels.
sky sports digital – Follow all the latest from WSL on SkySports.com and on the app, including exclusive features and interviews, as well as dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from live games on Sky Sports. You can watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platform and YouTube channel.