City manager Nick Cushing says it is the responsibility of the players to pick themselves up, following Sunday’s Continental Cup disappointment.

The holders suffered our first defeat of the season, falling 2-0 to Manchester United in the second professional Manchester Derby, courtesy of goals in either half from Katie Zelem and Jess Sigsworth.

REPORT: Derby disappointment in Conti Cup

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Although Cushing believes his side remained firmly in the contest, even when reduced to ten with Keira Walsh’s sending off, the boss admits City lacked our usual attacking prowess.

“I don’t see it as my job to pick them up,” he stated. “It’s their job to pick themselves up.

“We should use it as fuel. If a defeat to Manchester United in a Manchester Derby doesn’t kick them up the backside, nothing will. When a winning team loses, it hurts and we don’t lose often.

“I thought the game was there for us, even when we went down to ten.

“If you look at the stats, we had a lot of the ball in good areas but their ‘keeper didn’t have a save to make.

“Potentially (we were leggy after the midweek Champions League visit of Atletico Madrid) but I don’t want to make excuses. We had enough of the ball to create chances.

                        Cushing expects reaction from wounded City

“We got into good areas but that’s a mentality piece – I didn’t think we showed enough desire or will to put the ball in the goal.

“It was a frustrating afternoon and we’re disappointed to have lost Keira as well.

“We’ll work at it, accept the defeat and work hard to come back.”

Reflecting on the red card, brandished for a late lunge on Kirsty Hanson, Cushing added: “I get it. When you go in hard and out of control, it’s a red card.

“It was a strong tackle but I know Keira well and I don’t think she went in intentionally to hurt Kirsty.

“It was strong tackle to win the ball back and get us on the counter. I’ve seen it back and it’s as much of a red card as it isn’t.

“In the modern game, you can’t go in out of control.

“When you lose your best players, you have to adapt. It’s no different to losing a player to injury.

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“We have a lot of players who could play week in, week out, who have been injured. We have some players who didn’t play and some players returning.

“It’s frustrating (to lose Keira) but we’ll have to do that this week. We’ll see and we’ll put the best team on the pitch to compete against Arsenal.”

City have a rare week’s break between games, before locking horns with the League Champions on Sunday 27 October (2:30pm) in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash.

Our only domestic defeat last season was inflicted by the Gunners on the final day of the campaign and Cushing knows his side will have to produce their best to claim victory, especially ahead of our crucial Champions League Round of 16 second leg trip to Madrid.

“It’s a huge game against Arsenal and then we have another against Atletico,” he continued.

“Nothing is won and lost but points in head-to-heads are important.

“We have to make sure we go to Arsenal with a team who is ready to win.

“We always play to win and hopefully, we can solidify our place in the League.”