Ini Umotong has revealed how praise from the top has set up Albion women for a challenging season.

The Nigeria international is joint top scorer among the elite of the women’s game after her double strike at Tottenham in the Continental Cup.

But it was compliments about her team’s defensive work and tactical discipline which have sent confidence soaring within the camp.

Albion return home on Sunday for WSL2 action against Sheffield.

It will be their first outing at Culver Road since going down 3-0 in the Conti Cup to the stars of Chelsea, who scored twice in the last 15 minutes.

Umotong told The Argus: “Our confidence has improved, especially hearing comments from Hope Powell, pictured, and the Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, who said we have been the side who defended best against them out of all the sides they have played so far.

“That lifts your spirits. We know we can defend and attack.

“We are very disciplined and we can work as unit.

“We have learnt we should be playing our game and dictating to teams rather than letting them come to us.”

Umotong was very much a lone striker against Chelsea but was denied by two fine pieces of goalkeeping and a block by a defender.

She came off the bench in the 4-1 win at Tottenham, and now has five goals in all competitions.

Her tally matches that of three other players including Reading and England star Fara Williams, who made headlines with her goal direct from kick-off for Reading against Arsenal.

Melissa Johnson of Sunday’s visitors Sheffield is also on five

Umotong said: “I knew what my role would be against Chelsea.

“We just wanted to see if we could get something on the counter and we had a couple of chances.

“We took what we learnt from that game to Tottenham.

“We played a lot of attacking football which is what we do best.”

Umotong’s goal-scoring pedigree made her a star signing for the Seagulls this summer.

She scored a brilliant volley on the turn in her home debut against Durham but also gets the poacher’s goals.

The 23-year old said: “I couldn’t be happier here and that is reflected in my record so far.

“As a striker, my job is to score goals.

“The ambition of the club, the ground and facilities are fantastic.

“It just all felt right when I came down and had a look around and I’ve settled in really well.”

Albion are just above Sheffield in mid-table as they prepare to host the Steel City outfit.

Umotong admitted: “I get more excited about the home games because it’s our own pitch and we have got great support. We play so well at home.”

A continuation of such form can bring fringe benefits for Umotong, who born in Nigeria and brought up from the age of one in Birmingham.

International honours are definitely a target for the former Oxford and Portsmouth goal-getter.

She admitted: “My personal goal is to push myself back into the national team. I got one cap against Mali and went to the World Cup as part of the Nigeria squad.

“If I keep scoring goals, hopefully I will get my call-up.”