Doncaster Rovers Belles boss Emma Coates has warned her squad about the pitfalls of ‘false success’ as they bid to win back their FAWSL1 status.
Coates’ side started the Spring Series - a warm-up competition ahead of the new league season in September - with a comfortable 4-1 win over London Bees earlier this month.
But the Belles were brought back down to earth with a nasty bump on Sunday when they were hammered 7-0 at big spenders Chelsea in the fifth round of the SSE FA Women’s Cup.
Doncaster will target an immediate return to the top tier when the new FAWSL2 campaign kicks off later this year but to achieve that Coates has stressed the importance of setting FAWSL1 standards day in day out.
“Like any WSL2 club we want to get back to WSL1,” said Coates following her side’s humbling in London.
“We’ve been talking to the girls about false success.
“A lot of the stuff we did at a good tempo against Bees and then obviously we came here and the tempo is three or four times as quick.
“So we’ve got to make sure we train at the tempo and show the standard of a WSL1 club.
“Hopefully if we do that we’ll prepare well and play with a good tempo, and take the good things we did against Bees alongside what’s happened today, and we’ll have good performance next week [at Watford on April 2].
“I’ll be wanting the girls to bounce back from this and bounce back strong.”
Were it not for several saves from goalkeeper Nicky Davies, Belles would have lost to the Blues by an even bigger margin.
“We just got masterclassed,” admitted Coates.
“It was one of those days that they were on it and the tempo they played at was tremendous. It took us a while to get into the game and by that time the game had gone really.
“We’ve sort of been slapped in the face by reality after the good result last week [against London].
“They were well drilled, organised and the new players they’ve brought in were tremendous.
“It took us a while to get our guard up and defend ourselves and put a bit of a fight in but in the second half we came out and we didn’t give up and that has to be the positive.”