Sunderland WFC boss reflects on third straight title triumph.
Sunderland WFC manager Mick Mulhern says he was delighted to pick up a third consecutive FA Women’s Premier League title with the Lady Black Cats.
Mulhern’s side secured the title with a 2-0 home win over Cardiff City on Sunday leaving them four points clear of Leeds United who they host this weekend.
And Mulhern, who is the longest serving manager in the ladies game, says this season’s success was Sunderland’s toughest yet.
“I’m absolutely delighted, the league was the only thing we really wanted to win – anything else was always a bonus,” Mulhern said.
“This season we’ve had an awful lot of injuries, particularly since Christmas. We’ve had a lot of key players out and we’ve dug in.
“That shows a sign of true champions when you can dig in as a squad and we’ve only lost one game in the league all season.
“Every team is coming here to beat us – it’s pretty much most teams’ cup final. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but that’s the way it is when you’re a top team and I know that because we approach opponents when we play the top sides like a cup final.
“That’s difficult for the girls but we’ve responded well.”
Mulhern’s side will ply their trade in the Women’s Super League next season after being granted a licence for the new campaign two months ago.
And Mulhern told safc.com that going into the elite level of women’s football as champions will send the right message to their opposition.
“It is[important to win the league], because you’re long-time champions – we’re champions and that’s the first thing they’re going to talk about next year when we go into that league as current champions,” Mulhern explained.
“That’s fine, I’m happy with that – I’d rather be champions that runners-up.”
And, though Mulhern is ecstatic to have been crowned champions with a game remaining, he was quick to let his girls know he expects nothing less than a victory next weekend when Leeds come to Eppleton.
“I’ve just spoke to the girls about the Leeds game because even though we might celebrate a little bit tonight – the real celebrations will be after next Sunday when we get the cup,” he added.
“It’s a bit hollow if you get the cup and you’ve just been beaten.
“I think we owe Leeds one as well; they beat us 4-1 [in the Premier League Cup semi-finals] but we had five top players missing that day, including my centre-forwards, so they didn’t see the true Sunderland. Hopefully they will this weekend.”