Women's Team

Cushing: Feels like I’ve split with a girlfriend!

FAREWELL: Nick Cushing waves to the fans
An emotional Nick Cushing jokingly likened leaving his managerial role at City to splitting up with a girlfriend!

The 35-year-old took charge of his final game as manager of our women’s team in Sunday’s crucial 2-1 victory over Arsenal, as he prepares to embark on a new challenge as Assistant Manager of New York City FC.

READ: Report | Ciry 2-1 Arsenal Women

WATCH: #ThankYouNick | Cushing's final CityTV interview

TICKETS: City v Chelsea Women | Sun 23 Feb

Fittingly, his trophy-laden tenure ended on a high, as City clinched a precious three points in the title race, thanks to goals from Pauline Bremer and Lauren Hemp.

Naturally, Cushing was delighted to end his tenure with a win, and spoke of his pride.

“I’m obviously very happy,” he said. “Before the game, the result – for the league and players – was important.

“For me personally, I’d have felt proud anyway and knew the players would put in the performance, but I had such a huge desire to win for the players, staff and the fans.

“I got emotional at full-time... I got emotional when we won the Continental Cup… I got a bit emotional – but that’s being proud of the players.

“We see in the game some teams don’t have that desire to win. Winning is so hard – that’s why I have so much respect for Chelsea and Arsenal: it’s about having the right people and having the desire to win.

WATCH: #ThankYouNick: Players' farewell

“This football club has given me an incredible amount of opportunities – whether it’s coaching the Under-9s, U12s to Women.

“I’d never be happy even in 10 years’ time… you invest so much time that you create a bit of a monster.

“For the last five games, it's felt like I’ve split up with my girlfriend but am still living in a house with her! But we’ve built the foundations for a very successful football team.

“The last three days have been really strange. Obviously, I’m excited for the opportunity but it seems odd that I’m never going to come here again, have Champions League nights here and win trophies.

“I feel disappointed that I’m not going to be here but I understand this is next level of my journey and I’m excited for it.”

Reflecting on the triumph over Arsenal, Cushing hailed his players’ belief, especially after the midweek Conti Cup semi-final defeat to the Gunners.

“I think that in both games (earlier this season against Arsenal), we were too passive and if you give Arsenal time to sit and dictate the rhythm and play they’ll find the opportunity,” he stated, “but in the second half, we were a bit more aggressive.

“Midweek I said to the team after: ‘if you don’t believe you can win, you won’t.’ It baffles me we didn’t win that game. I thought it was going to extra time.

WATCH: #ThankYouNick: Cushing's final City TV interview

“This is a special place where we very rarely lose and when I walked in at the start of the game, I’m always super nervous because I want to win but I never felt we’d lose this game.

It was nip and tuck. That’s recognition for the women’s game – how hard that game was played. There’s so much desire to win.

“In the end, we came through and we need to make sure we recover because those games in and around the head-to-heads will define the title.

“City can definitely win the league. We had to beat Arsenal and Chelsea here and be consistent in and around those games and we are doing that. We’re being consistent.

“We’re so strong at home that I feel comfortable and they can definitely go on and win the league. All three of us (Arsenal, Chelsea and City) are exactly the same and it’s how we can move forward to compete consistently domestically.”

Asked whether he had been given any advice before embarking on his new venture, Cushing joked: “Don’t mess it up! Ultimately, we’ve got such a defined strategy here that they don’t need me here.

“They all work hard and have an incredible knowledge. The have a real amount of experience that will guide them.

“I’m always on the end of the phone and I’ll probs play a part in planning next few games, Alan (Mahon) will pick the team and be the coach, but I will help.”

“He’s a fabulous coach,” he said. “I’ve had pleasure of working with him and I’m sure he’ll adapt very well to the men’s game and a new role, so I wish him all the very best.”

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