Debutant Richard Ward was satisfied with his two-goal contribution in Manchester’s 4-3 victory over Loughborough and feels he has settled in well since joining the club at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign.
Ward, who recently helped the England national side progress to the World Cup Qualifying Main Round for the first time in the sport’s history, netted twice in 60 seconds during the final stages of the game to help seal the three points.
And, although he thought Manchester were not at their best on Sunday, Ward is confident his new side can continue to improve this season.
“Overall, I think we were a little bit disappointed with the performance, but I’m pleased that we came through and got the win on my debut,” he said.
“Hopefully we can take this experience into the next game and keep going as a team.
“I’m happy to break the duck in my first game and it always makes it easier but, more importantly, we got the win, and that’s what we wanted.
“The lads have all been really welcoming and there are a few familiar faces I’ve seen from being involved in futsal for a while now.
“They’ve got a really good set up as a club; it’s really well put together and a lot of people are pulling in the same direction, which is only good for Manchester futsal and the community which it is involved in.
“I’m really pleased to be a part of it and hopefully I can help bring this club to that next level and start winning things.”
Talking through his brace, Ward revealed his international experience helped him keep his cool as he rounded the Loughborough defence to score his second, and spoke of his pride in playing a part in England’s success in Israel last month.
“My first goal was a great ball from Danny (Stapleton) over the top - he’s growing as a player and it’s good to see him getting some assists,” he said.
“The second one helped us ease off the pressure. We didn’t really need to concede with 20 seconds left, but we held on and that’s what matters.
“The only thing you can do in that situation is stay calm and make sure your touch is alright. I actually scored the exact same goal against Israel, which did help!
“It was fantastic to be involved in that with England; it’s the first time we’ve reached that stage of qualification in 6 years of trying.
“We want to get our heads down now for the Main Round in Hungary in December. The real ambition there is to try and reach the Play-Offs; to get through and make the World Cup in Colombia next year would be incredible.”
Manchester must now wait around a month for their next bout of league action, when they face Loughborough once again, and while Ward admits the gap is frustrating, he knows he and his team-mates will be determined to get an even better result against the same opponents.
“We train every week and I try and do as much as I can in my own time, but it is tough,” he admitted.
“I do a lot of gym work to try and stay sharp, and while it’s not the same as playing games, it’s just where the league is at the moment.
“It’s unusual to play the same team again so soon in terms of the fixture list, but these are the kind of challenges that we need to get used to.
“It’s great that we get another chance to go at this game, because as a team we feel like we could have done better on Sunday, and it will be good to try and rectify that at the quickest possible opportunity.”
Article by Liz Owen