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Preview: Blues v Reading Women

Reading is the toughest opponent we have to face so far

Marta Tejedor, Blues Women Manager

Marta Tejedor says Blues are facing their toughest test so far this season on Sunday.

Reading visit Solihull Moors (2pm) for Blues third Barclays FA WSL fixture.

Last Sunday Tejedor's side got off the mark in the Continental Cup, beating Everton 1-0.

"For me, Reading is the toughest opponent we have to face so far," said the Manager.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to the other teams we have played. But they are the strongest opponent.

"They are a good side. In my opinion they have a good balance between attacking and defending qualities.

"And as a team we have a background of a lot rivalry with them which adds extra emotions to the match.

"Our ideas are always to analyse where they are weaker to try to gain an advantage and analyse what they could do to damage us and try to prevent that."

Blues had lost their opening league fixtures, to Everton and West Ham United, both by 1-0.

The revenge success against the Toffees last Sunday was a big relief, Tejedor admits

"Basically it means we can be happy, relaxed. It's a different mood. That's what the win does.

"It is more difficult for players, for people around us, to keep believing what you are doing if you are not winning, to keep as focused.

"It's incredible. It shouldn't be like that really because the work you do, you end up losing and you are just doing the same work you do when you win.

"That's the way it goes in football. This really controls all our emotions (winning and losing)."

Rachel Williams came off the bench to grab the winner, sparking great scenes.

Tejedor notes: "I was personally very happy as was the whole team. Realising she had been 18 months out . . . all the things she has gone through. She deserved it.

"On the other side of it, everyone has been telling me that Rachel was a top scorer you need but I hadn't see it, for obvious reasons. So it was a good that, yes, I did see it at last - it was a great moment."

Blues are still set to be without back-up goalkeeper Alex Brooks, who is absent due to concussion protocols.

Tejedor tweaked her line-up after the opening game, with Sarah Mayling, who started at left-back, switching to the right flank to allow Harriet Scott's return.

The versatile Mayling is admired by the Manager: "Pre-season she has done both things equally.

"At the beginning, she was more a midfielder and moved to full-back because of a specific need.

"She has done well for me. She is a very complete athlete. You can ask her so many different things and she will perform well. Wherever you put her.

"I haven't chosen her as a goalie yet, though . . .  but it may happen!"

Tejedor says the new-look Blues remain a work in progress but will get better and better.

"I think we are still in a process. I have a feeling that we still haven't adapted yet, or we haven't got our best performances yet.

"I see in matches misunderstandings, the player are not perfectly linked yet.

"It makes me happy, though, because it means we can be much, much better.

"It's a process when you have so many new people in the team it may almost take you the whole first season until you are complete or you finish your working. It's a little too early yet to say that."

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