Everton Ladies boss Andy Spence spoke of his disappointment but also of how proud he was of his side after the Blue Girls went down 3-0 at the hands of Manchester City at the Academy Stadium.
A Jill Scott double and a solo goal from ex-Everton star Nikita Parris was enough to secure a win for the second-placed hosts, but Spence was quick to acknowledge the early chances the Toffees created that on another day, may have seen a different outcome.
“A 3-0 scoreline looks bad but in the first 20 minutes I thought we were the better side, we controlled City and hit them on the counter-attack," he said, whose side finished the campaign ninth in WSL 1.
“They should have been given a red card early on (for a foul on captain Dan Turner when she was clean through on goal). We have had a few instances that have gone against us and if they had 10 players and we went 1-0 up it would have changed the complexion of the game. We didn’t get that and we are disappointed. City ran on and were worthy winners after that point.
“We had some good opportunities. The second chance the keeper made a good save on Dan Turner and the third we missed a bit of quality in the final third and the final pass but that is what this level is about.
“We have done great again and I am immensely proud. We can’t forget what we have done in the last nine months and I think the league table doesn’t truly reflect where we are. If everyone is honest and we look at performances, we should be another six or seven points further [up the league].”
Before the match, Spence changed things around in regards to the starting XI that saw a new 3-5-2 formation which he hopes can propel the Blue Girls up the table next season after the system's success a year ago in the Spring Series.
“We used it in the Spring Series 12 months ago and we did well in that, it gives us a different option," he added. "With our recruitment in the summer I feel we will be stronger and we can look at new things over the summer to make ourselves better and we will be working hard on that.
“I won’t be happy until we are number one, whether we are 6th, 7th or 8th, I don’t care, I want to be number one. We have to learn from this season and make ourselves better for next year.”