Alonso: Derby will bring new challenges this time


Fran Alonso admitted he is anticipating a different Glasgow City to the side his players beat 2-1 back in February, as he expects a different kind of challenge in this Sunday’s season opener.

The long road back to the SWPL1 finally reaches an end tomorrow with the Hoops traveling to face the Champions in the new winter season, and while Alonso says excitement is growing in the camp, they are aware of the challenge Glasgow City will pose.

“I feel we are ready. I can see the girls get sharper and sharper and they have enjoyed training, especially the last couple of days so it’s great to finally be competing after seven months and every single player is feeling the same way,” he told.

The hosts have added a few new faces since that night in February, but it is their pre-season and earlier return to competitive football that Alonso is taking into consideration as he prepares his squad.

“Until anyone proves it different, they are the best team in the country,” he explained, “they’re the team to beat, and they will not be intimidated just because we have beaten them the last two times, so we expect an extremely good football game.

“We had played a couple of competitive games before playing them, so the players were at their peak, while this is our first competitive game this time and that isn’t the case for them.

“They have were in the Champions League, were back training for four or five more weeks than us and they have competed during lockdown which will be an advantage for them."

But there is also plenty to take from previous outings against this weekend's rivals, namely their performance against them before lockdown.

“Like everyone else, I’m a little bit gutted that game doesn’t count anymore because it was an amazing night, but it’s at the back of our minds now. We know why we won that game - it was our values, our ambitions, our workrate and our intensity and we’ll definitely try to bring the same this Sunday.

“We beat them by pressing them and finishing stronger than them as they lacked more energy than us, but I don’t think that will be the case on Sunday.

“It’s another challenge that will motivate us though.”

With the curtain-raiser being a Glasgow derby, and new COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number that can be involved, it has intensified the competition amongst his already motivated squad to Alonso's delight.

“We had a lot of quality and then we brought even more quality, so there is more fighting for every position but the girls reacted well. Nobody can relax now and it has increased the competition level between themselves.

“Although we were very happy with the season at the start of the year we have seen improvements. We get better everyday,” he added.

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