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The shot-stopper produced an heroic display, saving two spot-kicks at Bramall Lane, to clinch the trophy for the Blues for the third time, after the two sides had played out a goalless draw over 120 minutes.
Bardsley, lifting her fifth trophy with the Blues since her arrival in 2014, described the feeling as ‘amazing’, adding she was delighted to retain silverware.
“It’s amazing,” she told ManCity.com. “I’m over the moon – so pleased.
“This trophy has a particularly special place in my heart and the team’s.
“We won it in the first season as a team together, although we probably had no right to win it. We’ve always been fond of it.
“I’m really stoked. It was tough in the 90 minutes and extra-time. We had loads of chances and we hit the woodwork.
“Arsenal were defending for their lives and Sari Van Veenendaal made some great saves. You’ve got to give them credit where it’s due.
“Over the last few seasons, it’s been heart-breaking not to have brought trophies home so this is a really special step in the right direction.
“I wish we could have made it easy for ourselves but that gives you an opportunity to do something special and we took full advantage.
“I’m really proud of the girls – they had to make sure their penalties went into the back of the net as well.
“I was just happy to contribute. It feels really great.”
Reflecting on her shoot-out performance, Bardsley revealed she simply followed her instincts.
“It was more a case of focusing on and understanding the process,” she added. “To be able to pick up on any cues or anything.
“It was about being decisive to be honest, trusting my instincts and going with it. There wasn’t much prep for this one in particular – it was just about the process, but it’s nice that it came to fruition.”
Bardsley hopes the triumph will now spur the Blues onto more success, with Nick Cushing’s side in the hunt for a domestic treble.
“It puts us in good stead to build momentum after the international break and make a bid for the league and hopefully, the FA Cup,” she continued. “We’re really happy.
“There’s nothing better than winning a trophy – regardless of what it is.
“We’re really pleased and we’ll enjoy the trip back to Manchester. Then we’ll start prepping for the trip to the United States with England for the SheBelieves Cup.
“Right now, we’ll enjoy the moment and then use it as momentum to launch into the reason of the season.”
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