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Asllani: Our ambition is to be Europe’s best

LOOKING AHEAD: Kosovare Asllani has her sights set on more success in 2017

LOOKING AHEAD: Kosovare Asllani has her sights set on more success in 2017

Kosovare Asllani’s 2016 will take some topping… but she knows what could compare - winning the Champions League with Man City Women.

The Swede collected three medals last year – the Super League, the Continental Tyres Cup and an Olympic silver – creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Bettering those achievements is a difficult ask but the forward has set herself a new target: to help the Blues succeed on the continental stage.

Nick Cushing’s side face Fortuna Hjorring in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this month, with heavyweights Lyon or Wolfsburg awaiting in the semis.

Ever eager to improve, Asllani recognises the size of the task ahead but believes City are capable of progression.

“We are excited,” she said. “Of course, in the Champions League – you play against the best teams in Europe and this Club’s ambition is to be the best club in Europe.

“We have had a good pre-season and great tests before the league and Champions League start. It’s important to have those games so we know what it takes to win.

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“Our friendly games have been against very high level opponents, particularly the German teams, who have a different style of play to other teams. Unfortunately, I was unable to play in the first few weeks with a small injury but I worked hard to get back and I can’t wait to play with the team again.

“Playing against top teams gives you a lot of experience. It’s the same when you play for the national team.

“Top teams punish you if you are not focused for 95 minutes during a game.

“The most important thing is to trust in our ability and be intelligent during games.”

Danish outfit Fortuna reached the final in 2003 but reached the quarter-finals this year as they look to repeat their feat of 14 years ago.

Asllani, who played in the 2015 Champions League final with PSG but lost out to four-time winners Frankfurt, knows exactly what it takes to reach the last stage but is hoping to go one better.

Having learned a little about Fortuna from her friends back in Sweden, she hopes her side will make a statement.

“Nick Cushing and the team are analysing them,” she stated. “They played two Swedish teams in pre-season so I talked to some of my friends.

“They are a good team – any team that reaches the quarter-finals of the Champions League must be. We need to perform at our very best in both legs against them.

“If we progress, we play Lyon or Wolfsburg – teams that have been up there for a while, whereas this is our first year.

“They are world-class teams and that is what we want. We need to play smart to gain an advantage in the away leg; then hopefully, we can perform well in front of our own fans at the Academy Stadium to go through.”



Eight Blues feature in dramatic SheBelieves win

HISTORY MAKERS: England line up ahead of their game against the USA

Carli Lloyd lined up against her new Man City teammates, as England snatched a last-minute victory against the USA in the SheBelieves Cup.

Ellen White scored in injury-time for the Lionesses, bagging the rebound after Lucy Bronze had hit the crossbar with a thunderous strike, to hand Mark Sampson’s side their first win in the 2017 tournament – and just their second ever triumph over the Americans.


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Duggan: SheBelieves Cup will ready us for big year

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Manchester City Women’s forward Toni Duggan is looking forward to using next month’s SheBelieves Cup to further her preparations for the upcoming challenges with City.

Manchester City's Toni Duggan previews England's participation in this year's SheBelieves Cup.