Aberdeen Women co-boss Emma Hunter insists her side will not panic over recent results and remain optimistic in their SWPL1 ambitions.
The Dons last picked up league points when drawing 0-0 with Spartans in September, and haven’t won since their 1-0 victory over Hamilton earlier that month.
Since the Spartans game, Aberdeen have lost six times, conceding 23 goals and scoring five in return.
However, the Dons’ recent defeats to high-scoring Rangers and Glasgow City are not anomalies, with both professional sides consistently putting five or more goals past teams in SWPL1.
Co-boss Hunter insists, while recent results have been disappointing, it’s too early in the season for there to be too much cause for concern, especially considering the first round of fixtures has been the Reds’ maiden exposure to Scotland’s top sides.
She said: “We have to be realistic against sides like Glasgow City, who have been the best team in Scotland for the last 14 years.
“We’ve moved up two divisions in as many years so now to be coming up against the best teams in the country, it’s always going to be tough. SWPL1 is the ultimate test and we’re well up for the challenge.
“The last month has been difficult and understandably the girls have been left feeling aggrieved, but we will harness that frustration and use it as motivation.
#SWPL | 1/3rd of the 2021/22 SWPL 1 season complete ✔
Here's how the table looks ⬇
How's your team getting on so far? pic.twitter.com/lWV1yeJiGx
— Scottish Women's Premier League (@SWPL) November 7, 2021
“We’ve still got a long season to go, it’s not panic stations at all at the moment. I think we have to be realistic where we are and who we’re going to come up against this season.
“There are plenty of positives that we can take going forward. We’ve picked up points in this league and we’ll do it again.
“It’s about making sure we stay positive, even in defeat, to go and beat teams that we know we are capable of picking up points against.”
A lack of top flight experience
Hunter admits that the Reds’ current run of poor results has proven to her young side, most of whom haven’t played at this level before, the harsh reality of what to expect in the Scottish top flight.
However, she believes her side can only learn from their encounters against top opposition, as she said: “Honestly, I think we’ve probably been a little bit naïve coming into SWPL1 and trying to play with the same style that we have done previously over the last two years.
“It’s definitely been a lesson learnt that we can’t be as expansive at times.
“First of all, we need to make sure we are compact and defensively strong. If we make sure that we’re defensively tight then we know we’ve got the firepower to score goals.
“But we’re not far off where we want to be, we need to tidy up at the back to make sure we’re not losing goals like we did against Motherwell, and continue to try and create more opportunities further up the pitch.”
New faces in the dugout
Not only have Aberdeen had to adapt to a new league, Hunter’s side have had to cope with changes off the pitch which has seen the addition of new backroom staff.
The addition of a new co-manager in Gavin Beith, assistant coach, goalkeeping coach and physiotherapist reflects the Pittodrie club’s commitment to improving the Dons’ SWPL1 prospects.
Great to have such an experienced Coach in with us. Claire has already achieved so much in her coaching career and developed so many talented boys and girls in the North. Welcome to the @AberdeenWomen 🙌 #OneTeam https://t.co/waQcHrRvlZ
— Emma Hunter (@EmmaHunterAFC) November 10, 2021
Hunter added: “A lot has changed for our club this year from being in a new league, signing new players and new coaches coming in, so it takes time to see the fruition of it all.
“I have no doubt we will benefit from all the changes, but we have to be patient.”
Blanchard leaves on loan
Goalkeeper Anna Blanchard has joined SWF Championship North highflyers Montrose from Aberdeen for the rest of the season.
Blanchard made her only SWPL1 appearance of the season as a second half substitute in the 8-0 defeat to Rangers.
Really excited to get started with this club and develop as a player 💙 https://t.co/deeRhBXmNY
— Anna Blanchard (@AnnaBlanchard15) November 12, 2021
Montrose Women currently sit top of the Championship North table, winning every league game so far, having also reached the SWF Championship Cup final, which will be played later this month.