Millwall Lionesses boss Katie Whitmore insisted her side will continue to play for the fans – despite supporters not being able to attend games due to London’s new Tier 3 restrictions.
Sport deemed ‘non-elite’ has had fans back this season and the Lionesses enjoyed plenty of support in ERWFL Division One South, but that now changes as clubs deal with the new government orders.
“It’s obviously disappointing to go back to playing our games behind closed doors, but I know ultimately the squad want to continue playing and still put on a performance that the fans would want us to put on – regardless to whether they are able to attend or not,” Whitmore told the News this week.
“Yes, it’s been great having the spectators back in the ground and to be able to give us that bit of encouragement when we need it in those tight games, but ultimately, you have to follow the current government guidelines and we hope to be able to welcome our fans back once we are out of Tier 3.”
Whitmore assessed the campaign so far, and the “hurdles” her team has faced in her first season.
“It has been an up and down first half of the season for us, which we kind of knew was always going to happen – with me being new in the post as manager, having a new squad of the retained players and the new signings who were introduced at the beginning of the season,” she said.
“It’s been an up and down season anyway with the stop-start because of the lockdowns, so we are facing hurdles that we maybe would not have faced before, but we ultimately have been working on obviously making sure that everyone’s got the same vision as what management have got and making sure we go in with the same motivation.
“For me, what we need to work on is what I’ve said in previous interviews, the girls have got to understand it’s not just about the physical aspect of the game, it’s the psychological aspects of the game as well. That’s a lot of the things we are going to be working on so we can make sure we hit the ground running for the second half of the season.
“The positives we can take is that we have gone in and put in good performances a majority of the time. I know the girls haven’t played to their full potential in some matches and in some matches I have come away disappointed with how the girls have played, but the squad in general seem to recover, respond and react to the messages I’m giving out after we lose a game.
“Ultimately, there are positives we can take out of the campaign so far – we are sitting in a good position, the league isn’t over yet, we can still turn it around from the loses we’ve had.
“For me, working with the squad and the committee, like I’ve said before we’re facing hurdles we’ve never had to face before: having to do Zoom calls when we’re in a lockdown to make sure we are keeping that togetherness and keeping that motivation going.
“To be able to come out of this [lockdown] and be successful with either a promotion or the girls developing from where they started, which is what we wanted from the start, that’s going to be a successful season regardless.”