Brighton Women boss Powell also discusses Black Lives Matter; Arsenal’s Lia Walti fears Man Utd can “steal points” in 2020/21
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 02/09/20 6:03pm
The Women’s Super League must remain competitive as more and more high-profile players move over to England’s top tier, says Hope Powell.
A summer spree featuring an influx of North American-based players has seen several WSL clubs strengthen going into 2020/21 – meaning some teams could end up stronger than others in comparison to last season.
The WSL has been dominated by the ‘big three’ of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in recent years, who have all made big-name signings this summer – but they have not been the only teams – and Brighton boss Powell feels it is important the league retains its competitive edge.
“We’re under no illusions it’s going to be tough, especially with some of the players coming into the WSL,” she told Sky Sports News. “It’s going to be hard work.”
“Last year we did well against Arsenal, we did well against Chelsea. We just have to believe in the players we’ve got and believe in what we’re doing.
“We want to be as competitive as we can be, we want to compete with the top teams in the league. We go out and try to win, be able to compete.
“The league is what it is. We wanted it to be professional, we wanted it to be the best in the world and attract talent. It’s doing a lot of the things we wanted it to do. The challenge now is to keep that competitive edge going.”
Arsenal midfielder Lia Walti agrees that the league must remain as competitive as it can be, and feels the likes of Manchester United, West Ham and Reading can “steal points” off the big three this season.
“Last season it was really competitive, especially with the top three teams, it was really close in the end and I think it will be even closer this season,” she said.
“All the teams have made great additions, and I think it will be hard to beat any team, [but] Arsenal is a team that wants to win trophies. This season will be extra hard but we need to qualify for the Champions League, that is the priority.
“I think there are quite a few teams that have made some great signings – Reading, West Ham, Manchester United. They will be able to steal points, we are aware of that.
“We need to be on top every weekend. I’m not sure if they will be able to close the gap [to the big three] but they will be able to steal points.”
‘It’s now or never for change’
With 100 days since the death of George Floyd, Brighton Women boss Powell was also asked to reflect on the ongoing global Black Lives Matter movement after sports united around the world to fight racial inequality.
Powell is still committed to fighting systematic and institutional racism within the game.
“I’m fortune enough to be involved in some of the stuff going on behind the scenes,” she explained.
“If it isn’t this moment, it’s never going to happen. I’m really hopeful – I have to remain hopeful – that something will change, and that people are held accountable if it doesn’t change.
“We have some real momentum, but some of the words that have been spoken need to be actioned because we have been here so many times before.
“I’m hoping people in positions of power, the decision makers, are actually true to their word and action their words. I’m hoping this is the moment, and I have to believe this is the moment.”