Women's Team

Walsh: We will not underestimate Atletico

FOCUSED: Walsh says her City teammates must be prepared for the visit of Atletico
Walsh says City must learn the lessons of last season’s defeat to Atletico Madrid when the two sides meet on Wednesday in the Champions League last-16.

The Spanish side were superb over two legs a year ago, knocking City out 3-1 on aggregate at the last-32 stage.

It was a bitterly disappointing result in an otherwise excellent season for Nick Cushing’s squad.

And ahead of the first leg at the Academy Stadium, Kiera Walsh admits we underestimated their ability last time out and has promised fans they will see a much more focused display this term.

“We’ve got a massive game against Atletico,” she said. “Some of the girls will be thinking about that [last season’s last-32 defeat]. It was a tough game last year and if we are open with ourselves I think we would admit we didn’t expect to face such a strong side.

“But this year we know what to expect, we’ve played them three times and won twice, and, if anything, it’s in our favour.

“We are just gonna focus on what we did well in those games and look to play well on Wednesday.”

READ | City v Atletico: Team News

WATCH | City v Birmingham | Match highlights

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Walsh goes into Wednesday’s game on the back of a player-of-the-match performance in the 3-0 win over Birmingham at the weekend.

The result saw City make it four league wins from four, leapfrogging Arsenal at the top of the table in the process.

The midfielder was the star of the show, controlling the game from deep and dictating the pace of City’s game with her superb range of passing.

And although she says he has work to do at international level where her performances fall below her own standards, Walsh is delighted with the City form.

“I am probably a little bit disappointed internationally,” she said. “I don’t play as strong when I’m there. That’s something I need to focus on.

“But I’m happy and comfortable at club level and that’s something I try to bring out in my performances.

“I’m comfortable on the ball and I try to pick out passes. My teammates help and so does the manager.

“He puts an emphasis on keeping the ball. I’m happy and the whole team is playing well.”

Indeed, Walsh credits Cushing with her impressive displays over the past two seasons. 

The 22-year-old is now central to the City side and has been described by the City manager as "the most intelligent footballer" he has worked with. 

She says without Cushing's influence she would not be at the level she is. 

“He’s such a good manager and has so much detail you know where to be on the pitch,” she said. “And he’s a calming influence on the side of the pitch.

“If he wasn’t my manager, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He brings out the best in me.

“I always have my best performances in a City shirt, that’s obvious.

“He puts his trust in me and I like to pay him back by working hard and putting in good performances on the pitch.”

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