Wayne: Change in mentality has been a key factor in Spurs Ladies’ astonishing form

Spurs Ladies goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne (right) in action against Gillingham on Sunday. Picture: wus

Spurs Ladies goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne (right) in action against Gillingham on Sunday. Picture: wusphotography.com - Credit: Archant

Goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne feels a shift in mentality has been an important factor in Spurs Ladies’ astonishing form this season.

Karen Hills’ side registered their 19th victory from 20 games in all competitions on Sunday, beating Gillingham 3-0 in the Women’s FA Cup.

Substitute Maya Vio broke the deadlock 15 minutes from time and Bianca Baptiste then bagged a brace as Tottenham progressed to the third round, securing a trip to Blackburn Rovers on February 5.

Wayne said: “I think we go into every game and put the focus on us rather than on the other team. When we put focus on us we make sure that teams are scared of us when we’re playing.

“I think that’s helped us this year, and obviously our goal ratio is a lot better and we’re not conceding goals. All of those combinations are going to help.

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“We have a very good mentality this year. I think we were a little bit weaker in mentality last year. With the pressure we were put under in the first half of this season, we probably would have crumbled, and that’s definitely a big thing we’ve improved on.

“The more games you win the more confidence you get, but you can’t rest on your laurels and I think that’s what we did at the weekend.

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“We came out, we knew it was going to be a really hard game, and we didn’t come out just thinking we were going to win – we earned what we got.”

Wayne showed she had lost none of her reflexes during the Christmas break as she made an exceptional and crucial save from Fliss Gibbons when the game was still goalless.

“We did our homework beforehand,” said Wayne. “We know that she (Gibbons) is a very good player, and definitely a lot of their players deserve to be in a higher league than they are.

“At the end of the day, these are the type of moments that we work hard in training for. I just got my positioning right and made sure that I got something on it.

“I think the key was that we didn’t rest over Christmas. We were all in over the break and we all worked really hard. I think that showed, especially in the second half.

“It was really quite a tough game in the first half. Then I think our fitness showed in the second half and displayed that what we did over Christmas really paid off.

“We want to go as far as possible [in the cup]. We all want to be the best we can be, and play the best teams we can play.”

Vio, who scored the all-important opener against Gillingham just four minutes after coming off the bench, said: “FA Cup matches are always special and tough at the same time.

“We all knew going into the match that we needed to be focused, and it must have been a great game to watch as there were chances for both teams to open the scoring.

“Thinking about it was slightly nerve-wracking as I knew I had to try and make a difference when I came on. I was so pleased to score the opening goal, it felt fantastic to put us in the lead, but the goal was definitely a team effort.

“I wouldn’t have got the ball in that moment without the combined pressure put on Gillingham by Wendy [Martin] and Nikita [Whinnett]. For Bianca to then score two more goals was amazing as it just showed our desire to keep pressing and pushing up to score, no matter what.

“What’s effective about the way we play is the pressing which the team does collectively for 90 minutes. It showed [on Sunday] how every player keeps the work-rate high from start to finish. Everyone works as a unit.

“Anton [Blackwood, our strength and conditioning coach] is definitely the reason we have the fitness levels to do this. He works really hard at making sure all the players are in the best physical shape to play the best we can.”

Spurs turn their attention back to the FA Women’s Premier League on Sunday as Hills’ leaders host fourth-placed Charlton Athletic.

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