Veronica Charlyn Corral struck for the Spanish outfit with ten minutes remaining, cancelling out Janine Beckie’s early opener, to net a potentially crucial away goal for Pablo Lopez Salgado’s side in the first leg tie.
The setback ensures City must score in Madrid to have any chance of progression, but Cushing insists it was always the intention for his side to target a win in Spain.
“The away goal means zero,” he stated. “We had it last year and got beat.
“I didn’t think we’d win 3-0 or 4-0, so we have to do exactly what we would in the first instance: try not to concede and make sure we score.
“We don’t want to rely on away goals. They only really matter if you score two or three, or you score in the second leg like Atletico did to us last year.
“That gives you a mountain to climb but I don’t feel under pressure. Whether it’s 1-0, 2-0 or 1-1, we want the same result going into the second leg.”
With Atletico having eliminated City at the Round of 32 stage last season, Cushing added he felt his side had produced a much-improved performance.
The manager did however admit his side struggled to create chances, when dominating possession – an issue which must be rectified for the away leg.
“I knew we’d be better,” he continued. “Looking at it now, straight after the game, it was a good performance.
“They were unknown to us last year and we were out of balance. A few things happened to the team and I don’t think I picked the right team for the away leg. I put the team under pressure and I’m okay to accept that. I won’t do it again.
“I thought Atletico were the best team we played against last season with the ball. This year, we played against a team who played direct into their pace upfront and that makes it a one-dimensional game for us.
“We dominated for periods and we expected them to be able to dominate periods. We wanted to deny the amount of time they put passes together.
“If you look at the possession stats, we edged it and we created chances, although not many were clear cut. It was the same for both teams.
“In those moments of dominating possession, I want the team to create clear cut chances when we have that momentum. We have good players.
“There was some really good defending and really good build-up play but we have to be better at stopping counter-attacks.
“I thought we were okay at that. There’s stuff we’ll work on for the Man United and Arsenal games in being a little more organised, but we went into the game out of balance with no number nine.
“At this level, it’s always difficult and you have to be prepared to adapt. The game is so random.
“You can use the trends – we looked at their coach’s previous teams and what we expected. We also knew Atletico play 4-4-2 very well. Who knows what they’ll play in the next game?
“In top level football, top level players can adapt. The players sorted it out. I thought we were at our best when pressing high and putting pressure on.
“We proved to ourselves that we didn’t play well enough last year and we know we can play a lot better. We showed we are capable of winning the game.
“We always knew it would go down to the second game.”
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