Everton captain Megan Finnigan has urged her teammates to draw a line under Sunday’s result against Brighton & Hove Albion and learn from their mistakes.
The Blues began their Women’s Super League campaign at Walton Hall Park on Sunday but found themselves two goals down after 14 minutes.
Despite the setback, the hosts were the team on the ascendancy and deservedly pulled a goal back through captain Finnigan.
However, the Seagulls held on for maximum points to condemn the Blues to a frustrating start to the season.
“The overriding feeling is major disappointment,” Finnigan told evertontv.
“We obviously wanted to start the season with a win as did everyone, but we started the game way too slow, and we got punished for it. Two really sloppy goals we conceded.
“Second half was a lot better, a lot of positives to take from it, but when you start a game as slowly as we did, then we gave ourselves a big mountain to climb.
“We couldn’t get back into the game, we created good chances, but we couldn’t convert them.
“The game’s done. We can only reflect on it and take the positives.
“Take the negatives as learning experiences.
“It happened too many times last season, it can’t happen again.”
Finnigan – who was named Everton Women's new captain last month – led the team out for the first time on Sunday in what was a proud moment for herself and her family.
While the overriding feeling of disappointment was too strong after the final whistle, she hopes to look back on this day with pride in time.
“It was a special day. I had a lot family and friends here, some of my friends came to surprise me so that was lovely,” the 25-year-old continued.
“It was special, but right now I can’t forget about the result. I wanted to kickstart the season with a win, we all did.
“Right now, I’m just really disappointed but I’m sure I’ll look back later on and it’ll be a special memory.
“I hope we can bounce back; I believe we can bounce back. We’ve got a really good opportunity to do that next week.”
Everton’s first goal of the season came from a set-piece as Hanna Bennison’s corner fell to the feet of Finnigan, who superbly finished into the bottom corner.
The Blues centre-back believes it is an area where the team can source goals from this campaign, especially with new physically imposing recruits.
“That’s actually the first goal I’ve scored with my foot for Everton, a nice change for once!” Finnigan said.
“This year, we can really target set-plays. We’ve got a lot of height in the team, Martina [Piemonte], Justine [Vanhaevermaet].
“We’ve got a really tall squad.
“Perhaps we could have utilised that a bit better [against Brighton] but hopefully moving forward we utilise that strength that we have.”
Up next for Brian Sorensen’s side is a trip to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Sunday 8 October (3pm BST).
Evertonians can get free coach travel for our first @BarclaysWSL away fixture of the 2023/24 season! 💙— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) September 18, 2023
The two sides faced each other in pre-season and while Finnigan knows the tough task that lies ahead, she knows the squad will be up for the challenge.
“There’s no easy games [in this league],” she added. “We played Leicester in pre-season; they’ve strengthened as well.
“We have to be on it this week. That starts in training.
“I’m sure if we turn up like we did in the second half [against Brighton], then we absolutely will get a good result.
“We’ll be looking to bounce back with three points.”