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Cushing made six changes to the line-up that defeated Chelsea in the FA Cup semis last time out and the manager was pleased with the way his side rallied to end the home campaign on a high, while extending our unbeaten domestic record.
“I’m proud of how the team continue to be a winning team,” he reflected. “I thought we played well in spells – just not long enough.
“We lacked a little identity in the first half from what we normally look like, but there were players on there who had not played a lot of football and need time to get up to speed.
“There were moments in game where we didn’t go through the process of how we win and stop teams from making life hard for us.
“We made the game difficult for ourselves but the fact we found a way through is really positive, and I think that not playing well refocuses everyone’s mind, going into the Cup Final.
“It shows what can happen against teams, who people perceive are ‘lesser’ than us. Football is a difficult game when you don’t play well.
“I’m incredibly proud. Last season was difficult – the performances were good and we got ourselves into a winning position but as is the case in football, you don’t always win.
“This year, we had a difficult start with the Atletico game [in the Champions League] so to be in a position where we are playing Champions League football again next year with the chance to potentially win a cup double is incredible.”
“We’ll have a strong squad to pick from [on Saturday],” he said.
“We’ll have Jen Beattie and Jill Scott back and no injuries.
“We have to just treat it like another game and not worry about the outcome or occasion.
“We have to go through the process and how we win.”
Cushing also took a moment to thank the City faithful for their unwavering loyalty throughout the season.
“Thank you for all your support,” he stated. “If you look at the critical games of the season – when we were 2-0 down against Bristol, your support pushed us on to draw 2-2; then when we needed a goal against Liverpool and then again in the Continental Cup Final…
“If we can get all the support behind us, it will push us on to win another trophy for you.”
Captain Steph Houghton echoed: “For us, as players, we want to put on a show and play well – and you drive us on every single game, home and away.
“We always hear you and on behalf of all of the squad, we’d like to say a massive thank you for this season.
“We hope to see you at Wembley and hope to lift the FA Cup.”
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