Women's Team

Atletico Madrid v City: UWCL team news

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Nick Cushing has faced the media ahead of the game
Nick Cushing confirmed Ellen White is in contention to start City’s Women’s Champions League Round of 16 clash with Atletico Madrid.

The two sides lock horns in Spain on Wednesday night (6:30pm UK time) second leg, after playing out a 1-1 draw at the Academy Stadium a fortnight ago.

READ: Scott | 'The goals will come'

WATCH: City v Atletico | Match highlights

White, who joined from Birmingham over the summer, made her delayed debut in Sunday’s league trip to Arsenal, having suffered a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

The England star was introduced from the bench for the final 25 minutes at Borehamwood and Cushing explained she is fit to start if called upon at the Wanda Sports Centre.

The manager also delivered an update on Laura Coombs and Karen Bardsley.

“Ellen is back in the squad. She’s available to start,” he said.

“Whether she does start the game will be down to us and whether we think she’s ready.

“She hasn’t had a lot of football but she’s in there to play like the other players.

Laura Coombs isn’t ready yet – she’s still a little way off. Maybe she’ll be available after the international break.

Karen Bardsley is still injured. It’s still a process for her but she’s going on well.

WATCH: City v Atletico Madrid: Match highlights

“All of the players are pushing hard. It’s a difficult period for us, losing two games, but we’re ready.”

City need an away goal to have any chance of securing progression to the quarter-finals, with Atletico bagging a potentially crucial away goal in Manchester.

Cushing asserts that regardless of the first leg result, he would have always set out to win in Spain, insisting he will not change his approach.

“I don’t think it changes the state of the game,” he stated. “We always thought it would be tight and go across two legs because the teams are so well-matched. It was always going to be a difficult game.

“I haven’t learned anything I didn’t already know about Atletico – they have good players and they’re a difficult team to play against.

“We know we need to score but we always go out and play to try and score so it doesn’t change the dynamic of the game for us.

“We’ve not had a lot of time for turnaround (since the Arsenal game) but I know the players and how much they care; how hard they work and the type of players, people and professionals they are.

“I have no doubt that they’ve got huge motivation to get back to winning football games.

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“At Champions League level, all games are really tight and the margin for error and detail is really small.

“Our performance has to be of Champions League level. We have to make sure that whatever team we play against; whatever system and players we play against, we have to play our best performance.

“We want to continue in this competition and get to the latter rounds so we have to make sure we’re on top form with and without the ball.

“If things aren’t going our way early on, I have no doubt we have strong characters and good players. When I said after the Arsenal game about lacking the desire to put the ball in the goal, it wasn’t about individual players – it was about the team as a collective.

“When you don’t have a shot, you need people to do more. Players who are going to fight so hard to put the ball in the goal – not because we need a goal but because if you don’t score, you can’t win.

“I have so much belief in this group. We’re in a difficult period but every team goes through that.

“I don’t worry that we’ve lost football games. I just have a huge desire for us to get back to winning ways.”

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