Women's Team

Greenwood: City relishing Champions League challenge

Alex Greenwood says City are motivated to improve on last season’s Champions League performance ahead of Sunday’s clash with Real Madrid.

Gareth Taylor’s side lock horns with Las Blancas at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in a 20:00 (UK) kick-off, with victory moving us to within a two-legged play-off from the group stages.

The two sides met in qualification last year, with the Spaniards progressing on aggregate to reach the full competition at City’s expense.

But Greenwood, one of seven members of Taylor’s squad to help guide England to Euro 2022 glory this summer, insists the disappointment from that result has spurred them on heading into the new campaign.

Although the defender admits an extended break following their international commitments would have been welcome, she and her teammates are ready and raring for the challenge ahead.

“I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, I’d say it’s something that we’re looking forward to,” Greenwood said of competing in the Champions League.

“Doing better than we did last season is something we really want to achieve and across all competitions.

“I think it’s the reason why we are back when we are, obviously we’d like to have enjoyed the moment [of winning Euro 2022] a bit longer, but we appreciate why we have to be back.

“We’re professionals, who will be ready.”

This summer’s European championships could prove to be a watershed moment in women’s football across the United Kingdom.

The Lionesses’ victory over Germany in the final was witnessed by over 87,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium – a record attendance for an England men’s or women’s match in the tournament’s history.

A bumper crowd is also expected at the Academy Stadium ahead of City’s Barclays Women’s Super League curtain-raiser against Arsenal on Sunday 11 September.

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That success has also seen City players gain national attention, with Keira Walsh, Ellen White and Chloe Kelly all appearing on the front covers of established media outlets in the aftermath of Euro 2022, while Lauren Hemp even made a brief cameo on an episode of UK soap opera, Hollyoaks.

And Greenwood believes this increased exposure is an effective way to continue the growth of the women’s game.

She said: “I think it’s good and it’s been welcomed by everyone.

“As a group of girls, we’re really happy that everyone is getting these opportunities.

“It’s how we still continue to grow the game, not just on the pitch but off it as well.

“I think that can only help us moving forward.”

CITY V REAL MADRID: LIVE COVERAGE

Manchester City’s UEFA Women’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid will be available to watch live on CITY+ and Recast.

Gareth Taylor's side face the Spanish outfit in the Round One final in a 20:00 (UK) kick-off on Sunday 21 August.

The winner will progress to Round Two of the competition’s League Path, leaving them two games away from qualifying for the Group Stage.

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