Eileen Gleeson challenges Glasgow City players to re-discover identity in ‘must-win’ SWPL clash against Celtic
The reigning champions suffered a 3-1 defeat to league leaders Rangers on Sunday in a major blow to their hopes of retaining the title
and live on Freeview channel 276
Eileen Gleeson has challenged her Glasgow City players to re-discover their identity following their 3-1 defeat against Rangers in Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash.
The 15-time Scottish Women’s Premier League champions host third-placed Celtic at Petershill Park this evening as they look to bounce back to winning ways and close the gap on the league leaders.
Malky Thomson’s side opened a five point gap at the top of SWPL 1 running out comfortable 4-0 winners over Hamilton Accies last night to ensure the pressure is firmly on the reigning title holders.
Gleeson has told her players to get back to basics as they aim to avoid back-to-back defeats.
Speaking in her pre-match press conference, the Irish head coach said: “It was a very disappointing performance (against Rangers) and we need to get back to what it means to play for Glasgow City.
“We were very passive in our defending and likewise in our pressing and that’s not our identity, so I’ve placed more emphasis on our aggression in our pressing and counter-pressing.
“There was just a lack of dynamic and effort, especially in the midfield area, but we can’t dwell on it. We’ve had a few very candid discussions since the Rangers game.
“All the players have taking responsibility. There was a lack of commitment to individuals tasks, a lack of interpretation or understanding of roles within the team and that’s something we have to look at as well as a coaching staff.
“Dropping three points was far from ideal but we move forward now and are fully focused on the game against Celtic.
“It’s a big week for us and this game is an opportunity for the players to redeem themselves and really show what they’re made of.”
Gleeson is wary of the threat Celtic will pose after Fran Alonso’s side beat City 1-0 to lift the SWPL Cup in November, courtesy of Caitlin Hayes’ first-half header.
That crushing defeat came just a matter of weeks after Gleeson’s appointment and the former Republic of Ireland assistant manager knows her side cannot afford another setback in their defence of the title this season.
She admitted: “It was always a very important game, but there’s a bit more added pressure on it now in terms of our points situation and everyone is aware of that.
“We want the girls to focus on their performance and let a good performance do the talking and bring the right outcome.
“It can be viewed as a must-win. Obviously there could be plenty twists and turns over the rest of the season, but there’s no getting away from the importance of the game.
“A reaction is needed. I don’t have to press that home because the girls know themselves it wasn’t good enough against Rangers.
“Training has been at full intensity over the last few days.
“We’re very familiar with Celtic, we know they’re really well organised, good in their build-up play, strong in their transitions and really aggressive all over the pitch, so we’ll be expecting a very hard-fought battle.”
The one positive for Gleeson during the defeat to Rangers was the debut of American midfielder Peyton Perea, who joined City from North Carolina College last month.
Gleeson added: “It was great to have Peyton start the game. We thought she did alright but unfortunately wasn’t helped by the team-mates around her.
“I was happy to get her on the pitch and up to speed with the rest of the girls.”