Women's Team

Cushing: Rivals’ clash void without Birmingham win

MATCH MODE: Nick Cushing heads to the dugout against Leicester.
Nick Cushing asserts the conclusion of Arsenal’s FA Women’s Super League clash against Chelsea is irrelevant if City do not claim all three points at Birmingham.

With our title rivals locking horns following our noon trip to Solihull on Sunday, second-placed City will be eyeing the encounter with interest.

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Although Cushing admits the result could prove potentially ‘pivotal’ in the title race, until then, he has encouraged his side to focus on what they can control – securing victory in the Midlands, as we look to build momentum into a crucial month.

“It’s a big weekend for us,” he admitted. “Chelsea and Arsenal can’t both win so these weekends are always pivotal for the other team chasing.

“Whatever happens on Sunday with Arsenal and Chelsea, we have to pick up three points against Birmingham to give ourselves the best chance of winning the league.

“We’ve got a period now like we had in October with the Champions League game against Atletico Madrid, Conti Cup game against Man United and league game against Arsenal.

“We lost all three so we’ll have to look at that and check the mentality is right going into these three games.

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“I have so much belief in this group. They don’t need me to achieve success and get to Finals. I played my part but they’re a very good group of staff and players – on and off the pitch.

“Good players want to play and I don’t want to give myself problems by taking players out of the team. We want momentum, and I’ll trust the physical staff to make sure players are fresh for Sunday.”

With trips to Birmingham having proven some of the most testing in recent years, Cushing anticipates an equally challenging contest but is pleased to see his side head into the encounter in fine form – with three wins from three in 2020 and on the back of a comprehensive 4-0 triumph over Sheffield United in the Continental Cup on Wednesday night.

“Whenever we’ve been to Solihull, it’s been a difficult game,” he said. “I remember them being 2-0 up and us winning 3-2 on the day Abbie McManus scored an own-goal from the halfway line!

“Birmingham are improving. Maybe people will think it will be one-sided or that we’ll win, but WSL games are never like that.

“We’ve always had a tough time there. We’ll make sure we prepare right, going into it with the right mentality with our eyes on three points.”

City's next home game sees Cushing’s side welcome Champions Arsenal in a must-win, top-of-the-table clash on Sunday 2 February with tickets available to purchase online or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

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