New Tottenham Hotspur head coach Rehanne Skinner is hoping to use the club’s incredible training facilities to resurrect their WSL season, according to Tom Dean.
Skinner was appointed to replace Juan Amoros and Karen Hills in mid-November and will take charge of her first game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday with the club sitting second-bottom in the table.
More was expected of the London outfit, who’ve secured the signatures of global superstars such as Alex Morgan and Alanna Kennedy, this season but seven games in and they are yet to register a league win.
Skinner has spent the last three years with England as women’s national head coach (U18-U21s) and was promoted to Phil Neville’s assistant in September before making the move to Spurs.
And the head coach confirmed she will be drilling her team at some of the best training facilities in the world for the remainder of the season in her first press conference since taking on the role.
“We are now at the main training ground which provides us with unbelievable facilities to start raising the standards,” said the former Middlesbrough and Leicester City player.
“We’ve got everything in and around the players that we need to create a high performance environment.
“We’ve been trying to maximise the use of that and it’s a learning curve for us at the moment but the players are ecstatic about being able to train in this environment.
“The long-term vision of the club in terms of how the women would be brought into the Spurs family was a big plus for me.”
Spurs are still finding their feet in the WSL after finishing seventh in their first-ever top-flight season last year.Embed from Getty Images
Now they have a head coach with vast experience coaching at an elite level having won two WSL titles, two Conti Cups and an FA Cup during a three-year stint as assistant at rivals Arsenal.
Despite her vast experience this is Skinner’s first role as a head coach and fans will be hoping she can get key players performing to the best of their ability and encourage the younger ones to take the next step.
“Players are people at the end of the day, so if you build relationships with people and they understand that you’re invested in their best interests, then it’s not about big personalities or egos,” she added.
“There are players here with loads of experience and top quality but for whatever reason they are just not quite performing to the level they are capable of.
“If young players have fear you never get the best out of them so there’s got to be the understanding that things are going to happen. And if you learn from it, then brilliant.
“My job now is to try and get the best out of those players so that we can turn things around to get positive performances.”
Spurs have scored just six league goals this season, often lacking identity going forwards and have also conceded an alarming 16 times.Embed from Getty Images
Fans will be back in the stadiums this weekend and will no doubt be on the lookout for some of Skinner’s experience and philosophies to rub off on the players.
“We have got to start playing with a bit of freedom in possession and trust that we actually have some very good players on the pitch,” Skinner
“We can talk about how we are going to set up to play attacking football but ultimately if we’re not prepared to get on the ball and play forward then it is always going to be more of a challenge.
“So I’ll be talking to the players about having that self-belief, making sure we work as hard as we can for each other to give us the confidence to be a bit more threatening in possession.
“Out of possession I’m a strong work-ethic person. Ultimately the players have got to work really hard to make sure teams find it hard to play through us.”
Follow Tom on Twitter @tombendean