Women's Team

Taylor: We’ve proven we can beat the best

Gareth Taylor believes City have shown they can rub shoulders with the best in Europe after crashing out of the Champions League quarter-finals despite a 2-1 second leg victory over Barcelona.

We came into the game hoping to become the first side to overturn a three-goal first leg deficit in Uefa Women’s Champions League history and, although we couldn’t quite do the impossible, we took a major scalp in the process.

Before our Academy Stadium clash, Barcelona were yet to taste defeat this season, and had not conceded more than once in 38 matches.

And while Taylor is ultimately disappointed that our European adventure is over at the last eight stage, he feels we have demonstrated what we are capable of.

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“We proved we could do it,” he reflected.

“We needed fortune to go with it - which we didn't quite get - but I said to players afterwards: ‘you showed everyone you are a good team’.

“It was a valiant effort and we’re proud to come away winning the game, at home.

“(Barcelona) have been doing this for a long time. They've got more experience than we have, which gives us good experience.

“We wish them the best - they're a very good team and have a good chance (of winning the trophy).

“You need the stars to be aligned to help in certain instances.

“We knew we were on the tough side of the draw but it was a great experience and we look forward to meeting this challenge again.”

While City’s ability to breach a Barcelona rearguard that had conceded just six goals before our second leg clash deserves enormous credit, we were thankful for another outstanding performance from goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

The stopper put in a standout display in the first leg, and needed to be at her best once again at the Academy Stadium to thwart Asisat Oshoala in particular on numerous occasions.

Taylor was delighted by her performance and believes she can get even better.

He said: “The sky's the limit for Ellie.

“First and foremost, she’s a great girl to work with, really mature for her age, enjoys the challenge and gets the bit between her teeth.

“She made really good decisions with possession and with her saves.

“Barcelona are free-scoring and they create chances, we needed to call upon her in both legs and she’s done herself proud today.”

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City were dealt a blow before kick-off with Lauren Hemp ruled out of our Champions League quarter-final second leg clash due to an ear infection.

Taylor is hopeful that the winger won’t be out of action for long, but would not reveal whether she would be available for Sunday’s WSL clash with Tottenham.

"We'll have to see. Hopefully, not too long,” the City boss said of Hemp’s recovery period.

"She was a loss today, as were a couple of other players.

"We had to make a call. She'd had hardly any sleep for the last two nights.

"She was a loss and we have to try to get her back for these games."