Lucy Graham feels Everton’s self-belief could guide them to Women’s FA Cup glory
Lucy Graham says Everton are “a real force to be reckoned with” and has stressed the self-belief they will take into Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester City.
The contest against holders City will be a first final since 2014 for the Toffees, whose last trophy came when they won the competition in 2010.
Everton’s route to Sunday’s showpiece included a 2-1 quarter-final victory last month over Women’s Super League champions Chelsea, before winning 3-0 at Birmingham in the last four.
They have made an unbeaten start to the WSL season and currently lie second with 13 points from five games.
Meanwhile City – winners of six trophies from 2014 onwards, including two FA Cups – are fifth with eight points.
Graham, Everton’s on-field captain who says she will have an “overwhelming sense of pride” when she leads the team out at Wembley on Sunday, told the PA news agency: “The feeling around the group is electric.
“Potentially we’re going into the game as underdogs, based on the fact City have probably more experience in these kind of games.
“I’d say in terms of league form, it’s on a knife edge. We’ve started the league campaign very well. City I’d say, for their standards, haven’t started as strong as what they’d expect.
“The cohesion of this group is something I’ve never really experienced before in terms of positivity, winning mentality.
“We’re a real force to be reckoned with and we’re not satisfied with just getting to finals – we really believe we can go into these games and win them.
“Getting to finals is a priority but winning these games is the ultimate goal.”
The 24-year-old Scotland midfielder joined Everton from Bristol City in 2019, reuniting her with boss Willie Kirk, who she had previously worked with at Hibernian.
Kirk has guided the Merseyside outfit from bottom of the WSL when he took charge in December 2018 to where they are now, via a sixth-placed finish last term.
Graham said of her fellow Scot: “I’ve known Willie for a long time. I think I first came into contact with him when I was 16, 17 maybe.
“He was the coach that took me to Hibs for the first time, and we’ve kind of come full circle which is a nice story.
“I’ve got a lot of respect and time for Willie. I think what he has built here so far shows really how he wants to do things.
“He has brought in some magnificent players. His signings and process are starting to bear fruit now.”
She added: “I think that’s definitely our goal for the next few seasons – how consistently can we push the boundaries in terms of top two, top three, potentially European football, finding ourselves in cup finals year after year.”
Graham has also spoken about her mother, who she lost in 2017 and says she will be very much in her thoughts on Sunday.
“Football has always been my main focus, but she was always the driving force behind it when she was here, and she still remains the driving force, in terms of how hard I work, and my honesty and openness,” Graham said.
“She’ll be there watching, the best seat in the house. I’ll definitely be thinking of her on Sunday.”