Dan McNamara admitted he was ‘speechless but not shocked’ by his Wolves Women side overcoming the odds and reaching the fourth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
As the lowest ranked side remaining in the competition which continues on Sunday, fourth tier Wolves provided the shock of the third round as they knocked out a Watford side which was top of the third tier Women’ Southern Premier Division before the season was declared null and void.
But speaking to Wolves TV following the full-time whistle, visibly emotional manager McNamara insisted the heart, determination and unity among his players was what got the side into the fourth round for the first time since 2006/07.
On overcoming Watford
“I said it last week, but the group deserve this. We’ve come down here with no dressing room, warming up on a horrible pitch over there.
“I’d thought we’d been disrespected, if I’m honest. Even in their warm-up, they looked laboured, their warm-up looked like they were playing an easy side, but there’s Wolves Women for you.
“These [Watford] will be in the Championship in the next two years, and they’ve beaten them. I’m speechless.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to Watford because they’re a great outfit and they have absolutely fantastic players, but that’s what heart gets you, that’s what determination gets you, and that’s what a unified group gets you. They deserve that, as does everyone back at home as well.”
On Jade Cross leading from the front
“It was brilliant. We looked at their game and we’ve looked at footage of Watford all week and we knew we could get at their back four.
“We knew Jade would cause them problems, we knew Ali [Miller] would cause them problems, and right from the off they’ve struggled to deal with it.
“But what can I say about Jade Cross; I asked her for an extra 10 per cent at 85 minutes and she went up 25 per cent. She’s just tremendous.
“But it’s no individuals out there, right from the staff, from Roy [Williams] who turns up every week, from Jenny Stretton who’s at home who can’t be here because she’s isolating, Natalie Widdal travelled to both games although she’s banned – the girls said they’d do it for her. They said they would do it for her so she can play next week. But that’s Wolves Women for you.”
On putting pressure on Watford’s defence
“Football is about being effective. Football’s not about playing through the thirds and nice passes, it’s about being effective.
“What was effective is pressing their backline. I think they played out from goal kicks every time, which played into our hands.
“It’s about being effective and being effective was getting the ball into Jade Cross as quick as we could. I thought Jamila [Palmer] was fantastic up there and she put an absolute shift in, Ali as well, but they all have. They were absolutely tremendous.”
On when he knew the game was won
“When the whistle went! I’ve been involved in football for long enough now to know you don’t win anything until the whistle’s gone.
“When the fourth one’s gone in, it was just incredible, but I don’t think it was anything short of what they deserved. Jade will get the plaudits, but I thought Kelly Darby, Emma Cross and Anna Morphet defended like trojans.
“Anna’s just had the best 90 minutes I’ve seen her play in a Wolves shirt, marking an outstanding centre forward in [Watford captain Adekite] Fatuga-Dada. I’m speechless, but I’m not shocked because that’s what you get from that group. They’re incredible.”
𝐆𝐀𝐅𝐅𝐄𝐑. 🙌— Wolves Women FC (@WolvesWomen) April 11, 2021
On facing Blackburn in the next round
“We don’t get ahead of ourselves. Next week will be a totally different ball game because Blackburn haven’t stopped this year. Blackburn would’ve played for the whole time we’ve been off.
“But I’m just enjoying it. This is what football is about, this is what I’ve been harping on about in all my interviews; these are the moments you cherish. This is what’s going to unite me and Anna Price in 15 years’ time when we’re walking around Wolverhampton.
“Forget next week for now, I’m going to join that group, enjoy this moment and we’ll see what happens next week.”