Video 1 Gallery

Cushing: I couldn't be more pleased or proud

Manchester City Women manager Nick Cushing was brimming with pride following his side's final day victory over Chelsea Ladies.

The hosts produced a battling performance to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win over the morning's league leaders and Cushing was delighted to see his side showcase such an impressive display ahead of Thursday night's crucial Continental Cup final clash with Arsenal.

"I couldn't be more pleased or proud of the performance," he smiled. "We prepared as we always do - to win the game - and we had a plan to beat Chelsea, which worked.

"We had spoken before the game about treating it as a dress rehearsal for the a cup final. If Chelsea won, they would have taken home a trophy.

"Okay, we didn't - but we knew the team we were playing against would have held that mentality and put that kind of performance in so we knew we had to do the same.

"As a new team, there was a little feeling from the players that they did not want another side to lift the league trophy on their own turf. That was pleasing.

"I mean no disrespect to Chelsea. I just think that shows the professionalism, endeavour and desire from our players.


"The goals in particular were exceptional but I was more pleased that - with the injuries we had and the fact we had to field quite a young team - we'd asked the more experienced players like Jill Scott and Toni Duggan to step up and that's just what they did."

On the topic of individual performances, Cushing also took a moment to praise the performance of goalkeeper Alex Brooks, who stepped in for the injured Karen Bardsley.

In her debut performance, the youngster produced a solid display with a number of key interventions to preserve the hosts' lead.

"Brooks has come in and worked with our goalkeeping coach Chris Williams who is exceptional but she's also worked alongside Karen and that shows," Cushing declared.

"KB has been excellent this year but for Brooksy to step into the starting line-up today, with the pressure of the cameras and extra media but perform as she did, is outstanding."

Reflecting on Abbie McManus' second half sending-off, the City boss admitted he is unsure of what went on but will review the incident before making a decision.

"I'll be really honest: I didn't see any of it," he revealed. "I didn't even see the red card! I heard someone on the bench shouting about it.

"I've spoken to Abbie. She's really disappointed and she doesn't feel her actions warranted a red card but until I've seen it, I can't really comment either way."

Nick Cushing

Cushing also cooled fears of injury concerns, insisting skipper Steph Houghton - along with Bardsley - will be fit for the Continental Cup final, which gives the manager a welcome selection headache.

"Steph is carrying a slight knock," he conceded. "She could have played on but let's be realistic, we have a cup final in four days.

"If this was the last game of the season with nothing riding on it, Steph would have played but I'm an honest person and she couldn't have played two games in four days on that ankle.

"She had treatment this morning and came to watch.

"After the game today, I have no clue who will play in the final now! Players who hadn't previously had that much pitch time have been exceptional in the last three games so I'll sit down and discuss it with the backroom staff and we'll pick a team we believe can win the cup for this Club.

"We just need to make sure we rest, recover and replicate this performance on Thursday."

Match Report

City Women end season on a high


Manchester City Women ensured they ended the FA Women's Super League season on a high with a hard-fought 2-1 win over title-chasing Chelsea Ladies.


MCWFC v Chelsea Ladies: Match preview


Houghton makes history with Shoot Magazine