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Women's Football News
Blackburn Rovers have reached the Premier League Cup Final for the first time after getting the better of Coventry Utd in a penalty shootout in their semi final on Sunday.
We talked to Blackburn captain Lynda Shepherd, who praised her team for their fightback from two goals down at one stage as well as looking ahead to what will be a busy few weeks for the club:
WSS: Well done on reaching the Premier League Cup Final, first of all, how does it feel to be there?
LS: It feels great to reach the League Cup Final, we have been so close for the past two years but unfortunately fell at the final hurdle. We knew Sunday was going to be a tough ask but we stuck to the game plan, worked hard as team and it paid dividend. I don't think all the girls haven't stopped smiling all week, it's a great achievement for us all as individuals, collectively and as a club.
WSS: Just how tough and tense was the match, and the resulting penalty shootout?
LS: The match itself was a difficult game, we always knew playing Coventry was going to a difficult game, but we had a game plan and we applied it well. When we went 2-0 down I thought to myself not again, we've failed at the final hurdle again, but credit to the girls, we kept working and Saffron stepped up with two massive goals for us. The penalty shootout was tense but all the team has so much confidence in Danielle, she has a great record when it comes to penalty shoot outs so we know as a group going into a penalty's shoot out with Dan in net we're always in with a chance.
WSS: How big a boost was it to have a goalkeeper of the quality of Danielle Hill between the posts?
LS: Yes, like I previously said, going into a shootout with Danielle in the net you are always in with a chance, she performs in the important moments when we need her. She is brilliant at shootouts and I think other teams are fully aware of that.
WSS: It has been a bit of a bizarre season for Blackburn as we are nearing Easter and you still have over half the season to play, has it been really frustrating having so many weeks without games?
LS: I think as a group we have been really frustrated with not playing every week, you can't gather any momentum, but we've just kept working hard in training and the staff have provided us with friendlies when we've needed them.
WSS: This week you make the trip to Derby County, who you actually play in successive weeks. Is it coming to the point where you can't afford to drop any points as you chase the teams above you?
LS: I wouldn't say we're chasing anyone, we're just concentrating on the next game and at the moment that's Derby away. We're just focused on trying to get three points on Sunday. We just take things one game at a time and concentrate on ourselves, we don't tend to worry about what those around us are doing.
WSS: You still have twelve league games to play, plus two cup finals, in less than two months, how confident are you that the squad can stand up to this challenge?
LS: We're a together and determined squad, so I think these attributes are going to help us in this running. It's going to be a tough schedule but I think the whole squad is ready to be called upon when needed. We will make sure we do everything as a group to be ready for the next game in terms of recovery and preparation.
WSS: Blackburn still have to play Middlesbrough and Leicester twice, as well as Stoke, do you think those games will go a long way towards deciding the title or are they all important now?
LS: I think every game is important to ourselves, we're the team everyone wants to beat with being the current Champions, so we see every game as an equal. The teams you have mentioned are always a tough test and they all propose different threats, we don't really talk about the title because we're a long way off that at the moment.
WSS: Last season was a great one for Blackburn as you won the league by eleven points, if you can retain the title this season, would that be an even bigger achievement?
LS: Winning the league last year unbeaten was an amazing achievement and a season that I don't think any of the girls involved will forget, but retaining the title would be an either bigger achievement. The title is such a way off, we have so many games to play,against difficult opposition, our main focus at the moment is Derby on Sunday.
Our thanks to Lynda!
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