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Cushing: Now is when it really matters

NICK CUSHING: The manager was pleased with what he saw

NICK CUSHING: The manager was pleased with what he saw

The hard work starts now according to Nick Cushing after City reached the Continental Cup semi-final with an emphatic 7-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Academy Stadium.

Nikita Parris’ 50th goal for the Club opened the scoring within five minutes, before Lauren Hemp’s close-range finish cancelled out a Brighton equaliser from the spot to ensure we were ahead at the break.

But City blew our opponents away in the second-half, with Caroline Weir extending the lead on the hour mark before four goals in the final five minutes from Hemp, Claire Emslie, Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie put the game out of sight.

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Cushing was delighted to see the Blues reach a third consecutive semi-final, but also stressed that there was still a long way to go to pick up some silverware.

He said: “I’m proud that, in the first competition that we’re playing in this season, we’ve got to another semi-final.

“But now is when it really matters because there’s four big teams left… I’m proud of the team getting there but there’s still a long way from picking up a trophy.”

With a busy fixture schedule looming, Cushing revealed the difficult decision that needs to be made between giving in-form players plenty of game time and resting them to conserve energy.

“When you’ve got big players that are playing well you have to leave them on the pitch even if you are four or five up because I think momentum is key,” he explained.

“They’ll turn themselves around, the players, they’re good professionals and they’re in good condition so they’ll be fine for Sunday (against West Ham in the WSL).”

In terms of who he’d prefer to face in the next round of the cup, the Blues boss kept his cards close to his chest: “Just a home draw for us, we don’t mind who we play.

“We know there are going to be two extremely difficult games in the semi-final and the final, but we know exactly what the fans want… we just want to win the cup.”

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