Women's Team

Houghton not thinking about Atletico revenge

CAPTAIN'S CALL: Steph Houghton insists City are looking to the future - not the past
Skipper Steph Houghton insists City are not out for revenge when her side lock horns with Atletico Madrid in the Women's Champions League.

Nick Cushing's Cup double winners entertain the Spanish Champions in the Round of 16 first leg at the Academy Stadium on Wednesday night, before travelling to Madrid in a fortnight's time, as the two sides meet for the second consecutive season in the competition.

Las Colchoneras emerged victorious in the 2018/19 tournament, triumphing 3-1 on aggregate with a 2-0 victory in Manchester, after salvaging a late 1-1 draw on home soil.

READ: Walsh | 'We're focusing on ourselves'

WATCH: City v Birmingham | Match highlights

TICKETS: City v Atletico | Champions League last 16

The setback proved a major disappointment for City, who had reached the semi-finals in our first two European campaigns, but Houghton insists retribution is not on the players' minds ahead of the game.

"I don't think it's a case of 'getting revenge' against Atletico," she declared. "It's more for us as a team - we want to progress our season.

"We know that our performance over two legs last season was not good enough.

"We fully respect Atletico - they're a very good team - and we have to make sure that come Wednesday, we're defensively organised and that when chances come, we take them.

"We want to be in the next round of the Champions League."

With seven wins from seven, 23 goals scored and just one conceded, City have enjoyed a sensational start to the 2019/20 campaign.

WATCH: City slickers: 20 goals in 6 games!

Houghton has played a pivotal role, guiding her side to an impressive six clean sheets, whilst also netting the only goal of the game to clinch all three points away at Everton.

Naturally, the captain is delighted with her team's start but asserts there is still room for improvement for the FA Cup and Continental Cup holders.

"We're in a good place," she continued. "We couldn't have asked for a better start in terms of results.

"We still feel we have a lot more to give. To have had the clean sheets and wins we've had, we should be very proud of ourselves.

"We pride ourselves on making sure there's a zero against the opponents' name. That's the basis of who we are as a team.

"We have very good attacking players but ultimately, for us defenders and the way we're structured, we have to make sure we keep as many clean sheets as we can.

WATCH: City v Birmingham: Match highlights

Reflecting on Saturday's impressive 3-0 win over Birmingham, Houghton also reserved praise for Club teammate and compatriot Keira Walsh.

The Rochdale-born 22-year-old is rapidly carving a reputation as one of the most talented, technically gifted midfielders in the English game and Houghton asserts there is no limit to what the lifelong City fan can achieve in her career, if she continues to develop at her current rate.

"Keira can be as good as she wants to be," she hailed.

"She's already shown to be one of the best midfielders in the country at this level, with the way she dictates the game, and her passing ability is second to none.

"To have her in front of us makes our job easier. She always wants the ball and hopefully, she will be at this Club for a number of years.

"With the age of the team and with people gaining more experience over the past years, we're potentially in a better place than we were last season.

"Plus, I feel coming so close to winning the league last year built character and mentality. It's all about looking forward, focusing on who we have now and what we can do."

City host Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Wednesday 16 October in a 7pm kick-off. Tickets for all home matches are available online or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office, while the game will also be shown live on the Man City for TV app.

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