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We talk to...Stephanie Smith (Nottingham Forest)
 Women's Football News 15 Nov 2013
We talk to...Stephanie Smith (Nottingham Forest)  - 15 Nov 2013 - Women's Football NewsNottingham Forest sit on top of the Northern Division and are one of two unbeaten teams left in the Premier League this season. 
Stephanie Smith has played an important role in her team's success on the pitch so far and scored twice in their latest victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers. She spoke to us about the way things have gone, on and off the pitch, so far:
How pleased are you with the way the team has started the season?
I do not think we could be happier with the way we have started the season so far. The way we have prepared at training has shown in our results on match days and hopefully we can continue this throughout the entire season.

How good was the teams' performance in beating Wolves 4-0 in your last match?
Our team performance last Sunday was not as good as we had hoped for this week. However, ultimately it is the result that is important. In addition to keeping another clean sheet we can take what we have learnt from this and apply it to training sessions and work hard to put it right for next time and make things less difficult for ourselves as a team.

You have only conceded seven goals so far and kept three clean sheets in a row, has the team's success so far been built on a solid base at the back?
As a team I think we have a fantastic defence. But this starts from the attackers defending at the top. Although I am biased and would love to say we have the strongest defence in the league from having quality players in defensive positions, the entire team defends extremely well together which has showed in our goals against.

Has the start to the season exceeded your expectations?
I think as a team we knew we would have a tough season with the restructuring of the Super League. However, we have maintained our professionalism and worked extremely hard for each other in preparation for match days and our results have shown this. I think it is difficult to have an expectation when different players join different teams all the time. We just knew we wanted to work hard from the beginning to give ourselves the best chance of winning the league.

The club's battle off the field has been well documented and publicised, has this made the team extra determined in their matches?
Our goal as players throughout the entire club, from the youngsters to the more seasoned players, is to do our best on match days and prepare as well as we can for this throughout the week. We are obviously aware of the background publicity but we can only hope as players that if we are winning then we hope that someone out there can see how determined we are as a club to succeed and that we have great aspirations for the future at NFLFC.

Is it a little frustrating that you have to take a break from the league for two weeks to play cup matches?
I don't think so. We are just happy to have games to play! It is important we go in with the right attitude in all of our games irrespective of what competition it is for.

Is there belief amongst the squad that you can challenge for the league and maybe the league cup?
Of course. There is no point taking part in something if you don't have belief you can win! I think as a squad we have all the right tools to succeed: players, coaching team, the right attitude, supporters at our games etc. Providing we can continue in developing well as a squad and as players we can hopefully have a good run in for the league and cup, which is obviously our aim.

How much do you think it would mean to the club if you can win a trophy this season?
It would mean a lot to us. It would highlight our success as a squad of football players and that we deserve recognition for what we have achieved. But it would also show the determination of the people in the 'background', including coaches and all the members of the committee who work so hard for us to get us where we are today.

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