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Cushing believes the recent set-backs, which included a Continental Tyres Cup Final defeat to Arsenal, have fuelled his side’s hunger to succeed, with City still fighting on three fronts – the league title, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Reflecting on the midweek European triumph, he declared: “You’ve seen a team that’s hungry to win.
“They’re back to the place they’ve lived in for the last two years and we have to keep that up now.
“The games are coming thick and fast. The players need to be fresh with the same desire and hunger to win.
“Against Linkoping, we dominated the ball really well, which we set out for – it was a critical factor because we hadn’t started well in previous games.
“We know that if we’re dominant and aggressive, we’ll create chances. I don’t think this team knows how to sit back – we don’t want to.”
Cushing also hailed the attitude and performances of those players who have ‘taken their opportunities’ when given gametime, such as Georgia Stanway and Jane Ross, who earned recalls to the starting XI based on recent cameo displays.
Scotland international Ross marked her return with a goal, while newly called-up England youngster Stanway impressed in midfield.
On Ross, he stated: “Her performance was excellent. It’s frustrating when you don’t play and we’ve seen a bout of that but against Arsenal, she earned her opportunity and took it.
“She was aggressive, making defenders work. That’s all we ask for – to make life difficult for the opponent and take your opportunity. She did that and got the goal. I’m really pleased for her.”
Discussing Stanway’s unfamiliar role, he continued: “She’s a threat and she showed that with her all-round build-up play in the areas we’ve spoken about.
“When we brought her here, we didn’t have to work on her long-range shooting – it’s a natural talent of hers and not something we need to improve on.
“As she gets older and matures, I think she will become a better player as a central offensive midfielder – not only a threat on goal.
“She will learn to build the play and be a player in the part of the game where she tries to dominate the ball.
“We know we’re at our best when we’re on the front foot, taking the game to teams. If we continue to replicate our performance (on Wednesday), we have a good chance of success.”
City are next in action on Sunday 25 March with a trip to Sunderland in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup (2pm). Follow the action live on Twitter via @ManCityWomen.
Tessel Middag reflects on her return from injury...
The Dutch international returned to action from the bench in the Blues’ Champions League quarter-final first leg victory over Linkoping, following a ten-month lay-off due to a cruciate ligament injury sustained back in May 2017.