We are into February already and we are yet to have played a home game this calendar year. We have taken in the sights of Middlesbrough, Cardiff, Plymouth and Manchester in recent weeks which, as a part-time team, can take its toll.

The dedication from all the players and staff over this period has been second-to-none. In spite of some disappointing results, we have to take pride in the levels of performance we have reached at times and use those levels to spur us on to do it more consistently. When I say consistently, I don’t just mean from one game to the next, but within each game itself.

We have spells in 99 per cent of the games we play where we are on top and performing well, we just have to make sure those spells last longer than those of the opposition.

Talking about performances and dedication, the pride I felt at leading this group out at Manchester City last weekend was one that will stay with me for a long time. When you are drawn against one of the big teams there’s a real mixture of emotions that run through a player.

On the one hand, it is exciting to test yourself against some of Europe’s best players, but on the other, you know that if you aren’t at the races, they have the ability to make you look silly.

Thankfully, the way Armand (Kavaja) and his coaches had us set up for the game was perfect. We couldn’t go there and expect to dominate possession and camp in their half, but at the same time we wanted to try to play football when we could and show our fight and desire to stop the ball going in the back of our net.

Every player who stepped on the pitch, and every player who was on the bench or in the stands knew exactly what was expected of them and the person next to them. We drove each other and helped each other as we kept their attack at bay for over an hour. It wasn’t until they brought the Women’s Super League’s all-time top goal scorer on, that they were able to break us down. It is a credit to the players that they needed to sacrifice Nikita Parris’ rest in order to progress to the next round.

Aside from Parris being on the bench and England international Jill Scott nursing an injury, the hosts put out a very strong side full of internationals, including England captain Steph Houghton. It was a day to remember and despite the 3-0 defeat, we came away with our heads held high and a sense of what we can achieve during the rest of the season.

We need to use this as a platform to perform week-in, week-out regardless of the opposition. The mark of a good player is not one who can only be motivated for the big games, but one who uses every game as a stage to be the best they can be and work as hard as possible to do that.