Man City Women manager Nick Cushing has urged his side to take what they learned against Doncaster on Sunday and apply it to Thursday’s clash.
The Blues defeated the Belles 4-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Continental Tyres Cup but, ever the perfectionist, Cushing has called for his side to improve on their display when the two sides meet in the Super League in midweek.
He told ManCity.com: “Sunday’s game was a really good opportunity to have a look at Donny and see what they bring.
“It was like our past five games - a really good performance and a dominant one but we can improve in the final third. We have to start to improve to be a little bit better in the final third to turn our attacks into more clear-cut chances.
“The silver lining for me as the coach is that if we would have lost, it would have given us a great opportunity to learn about the best Doncaster Belles because they would have to have been really good to beat us.
“We’ve seen them, and they’re a good team, but I think if we perform the same way we’ll have a great opportunity to put another three points on the board.”
The cup encounter saw the visitors take the game to City – a rarity, as most opposition teams focus solely on trying to prevent the Blues from scoring rather than attacking themselves.
Cushing was pleased to have witnessed such an open clash but hopes Doncaster are limited to fewer opportunities at the Keepmoat Stadium.
He explained: “The reason we had a lot of opportunities was because they kept a lot of players forward when we had the ball, which is unheard of against us.
“Most of the teams we play put 11 behind the ball but they typically kept three up quite a lot of the time, which I suppose gives them an opportunity to counter attack.
“I’m not surprised that it was either Steph Houghton or Jen Beattie that was Player of the Match because I thought that were both exceptional, along with Keira Walsh, at killing off that counter attack.
“We’d like to think that whenever teams keep one, two or three up that our organisation, our communication and our understanding of the game really helps us to keep the ball, keep playing and keep producing.”