Women. Potts: 'We rose to the challenge'

19 May 23

If, to paraphrase tennis legend Billie Jean King, pressure truly is privilege, it was one keenly felt by Newcastle United Women throughout this season - but defender Charlotte Potts believes the expectation placed on Becky Langley's side ultimately helped inspire them to lift the FA Women's National League Division One North trophy just under a fortnight ago

"It was really full-on but we thrived off it," Potts told UNITED - Newcastle United's official matchday programme - after the Magpies clinched the title on goal difference ahead of rivals Durham Cestria with a 2-0 victory at Barnsley Women on the final day, with the team showing off their silverware at half time as Eddie Howe's men beat Brighton on Thursday night.

"Look at the situation when we slipped up against Hull (a 2-2 draw in early April - the only points Newcastle's women dropped after the turn of the year). "It kicked us on to perform even better. Some players work long days and I don't know how they do it, to be honest. It must be mentally draining to work a full-time job and then come and be under that much pressure (to deliver) the club's ambition, but they've handled that pressure very well.

"Each and every person has belief in each other and a strong connection that builds trust. We all understand each other's circumstances, we all understand each other's goal of why they wanted that promotion, and that's created resilience and character for us to collectively come together and work hard for each other.

"And as soon as we lifted that trophy, it was like 'what's next now?'. I know personally, I'm here for the club's big ambition and I'm already eager to get back training."

Potts joined United for a second spell in October, having spent time in Canada, Switzerland and Scotland with Calgary Foothills, FF Lugano, Sunderland Ladies and Hibernian Ladies respectively, and following her arrival Becky Langley's side got stronger and stronger as the season went on.

The 28-year-old signed a new contract with the club in January and admitted: "I'm so grateful for Newcastle with the support that they've given me this year - it's the support that I've been looking for throughout my career. It's helped me this season grow as a person and it's connected the dots, so to speak.

"When I first came in, there was a lot of injuries - I think there was about four different back fours within the first few weeks of the season. I felt I had a responsibility to help players, and they were listening to me. Building trust is so important and once we were starting to do that as a team, we were communicating really well and I think communication is one of the biggest factors of success.

"I think once you get one promotion, you've got that self-belief that you can do something like that, and there's no reason why we can't take that self-belief into the next league and have the ambition to win that league straightaway.

"Tier three is slightly more physical. One of my favourite coaches said to me before, 'if something doesn't work, you adapt or die' and I think for this season, it's going to be identifying what's different to tier four and adapting.

"That's going to be the case for each league; identify what we need to work on as soon as possible, and I think everyone's ready to get to work."

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