Skipper Schillaci hails Spurs Ladies’ self-belief after Ryman Cup triumph
Spurs Ladies captain Jenna Schillaci says there is more self-belief in the squad this season after Tottenham beat Charlton Athletic in the Ryman Cup final.
Karen Hills’ side triumphed 4-3 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes last Thursday, avenging their defeat to the same side in last season’s final.
Schillaci said: “I think this year, the way we’ve been playing, everyone believes in themselves a lot more, and each other. We’ve been playing some quality football so we came into the match feeling a lot more confident than we did last season.
“We’ve played them before in the league and we’ve lost due to minor little details. The men’s club prepared us the best way they could. They gave us access to facilities, Mauricio Pochettino came to speak with us – it’s been amazing. All we had to do was go out onto the pitch and perform, and that’s what we did so we’re very happy.
“We worked hard through extra-time and penalties – we all had a positive feel-good feeling about the night. Finally we were able to lift the cup so we’re all over the moon and I’m just so proud of everyone.
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“All week it was quite nerve-racking – it was about us just going out and playing the game and not getting carried away by the occasion. Once you’re out on the pitch you kind of forget about the moment because you’re concentrating so much.
“We had our chances and I think we were the better team throughout the night, we just couldn’t seem to get the ball in the back of the net.
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“It would have been easy for us to think it wasn’t going to happen but we kept pushing on and fighting until the very last minute, and finally Leggy (Katie O’Leary) stepped up and won us the game.”
Spurs still have two more cup finals to play – they face Charlton again in the Capital Cup final next Wednesday, April 27, before taking on Cardiff in the League Cup final on May 8.
“Everyone’s buzzing, everyone’s full of confidence and it just sets us up perfectly now for the next two cup finals,” Schillaci added. “Obviously we’re happy with this one but we want to win more. We want to have three trophies at the end of the season.”
Sophie Mclean added: “Hopefully it will be the exact same [against Charlton next week] and we’ll perform well again, although this time get a few goals and not have to go to extra-time and penalties. We’ll try to make it easier for ourselves.
“It was very nerve-racking, I don’t like penalties, but we all did really well and got the result we needed. We’re all together, one big family – we had faith in each other.
“It’s an amazing feeling to finally have a trophy, which is always a good thing. The girls performed very well and we’re all very happy.”
Spurs completed their league campaign on Sunday, coming from behind to win 2-1 away against Coventry and finish in sixth place.
Rosie Kmita came off the bench on the hour-mark and scored both of Tottenham’s goals, equalising 10 minutes from time before netting the winner with two minutes left, while No2 goalkeeper Chloe Morgan – who stood in for Toni-Anne Wayne – made a number of fine saves.
Mollie Kmita, Rosie’s twin sister, said: “I think we’ve always been a big team and everyone seems to step up when we need them to.
“Whether you start or not, or you come off the bench, everyone knows what kind of role they have to take. Everyone’s willing to put the graft in together and do what we need to do to get the win. We’ve got a good team spirit throughout the squad.
“Chloe was amazing. Obviously Toni’s our number one, of course she is, but Chloe is just a great demonstration of when people fill in and step up – there’s no slacking in this team. Chloe’s done really well for us and she kept us in the game throughout – especially in the first half.
“I think in the first half we came out and, after the journey, we were a bit flat – we all admitted that. We had a team talk before the second half and came back out flying. Rosie came on and had a really good game, scoring two great goals.
“I think playing 120 minutes and going to penalties on Thursday, you can see it’s taken a toll on the girls, which is understandable, but our focus is on the next two cup finals – Charlton again, then Cardiff.
“This game was important for us to keep the momentum going and it’s great to get the win. We’ve come here and done the job so now it’s back to training and back to the cup finals.”