Belles goalkeeper Ellie Sharpe says her side look like a new team in comparison to the start of the season after putting up a battling performance at Leeds United.
The Belles led at half time but ultimately fell to defeat in West Yorkshire as the Whites scored two quickfire goals with 15 minutes to go.
Following the Belles first outing of 2024, the shot stopper felt there were signs of encouragement despite the disappointment of starting the year with a loss.
Sharpe said: “A defeat in the first game of the year is frustrating but there are positives to take from our performance.
“In comparison to when we last played Leeds, we look a different team.
“There are things we’re working on in training that we are seeing in games now.
“We look more confident on the ball; we’re getting in the right areas and it’s great to be behind a team that are creating more opportunities at the other end of the pitch.
“Games like this build character.
“The girls know where we could be better, but we also know what we did well and that’ll be what they take into next weekend.”
Following the side’s first game since the festive break Sharpe felt the introduction of new methods under Ciaran Toner was a welcome extra for the Belles.
“We didn’t stop for Christmas really, Ciaran’s come in and he’s always giving us stuff to do.
“We get homework and that’s fantastic because I love his football intelligence and it’s what we need as players.
“I’m a bit older than some of the other players and I’ve never had access to this sort of information and it’s just making us think more about how to control a game.”
To watch Toner’s post-match interview in full, it is available via the Belles official X (formerly known as Twitter) page - @donnybelles.