Women's Team

Taylor delighted with ‘ruthless’ display

Gareth Taylor says he was delighted with the manner in which City stormed to victory at Brighton and Hove Albion.

A sensational second-half blitz saw the visitors bag six goals to start the New Year with a bang and leapfrog the Seagulls in the FA Women’s Super League table.

After breaking the deadlock through Victoria Williams’ own-goal, City had five different players on the scoresheet during a rampant second period to continue our recent good form – a third successive win.

Taylor was thrilled to see his side keep our foot on the gas and improve our decision-making, following a goalless first half.


"It was a good performance from us,” he reflected. "There were good parts of our play in the first half – we just needed to take more care. With the first good pass in the second half, we scored with an own-goal.

“Midway through the first half, I felt comfortable we would win the game but it doesn’t always happen – you can struggle to score or the opponent scores.

"We spoke a bit [at half-time] about the back four squeezing up but it was more about the final pass. 

"We had moments in the first half but in the second, we really opened up and the players played with confidence. We started to play our game.

"The problem you have with Brighton is that they're so determined – they never give up. You don't have that comfortable afternoon – you have to be resolute but some of our play in the second half was very, very good.

“The decision-making at three or four-nil up can go one of two ways: you can be sloppy and take liberties or push on. It was a bit of both – we had a couple more chances we could have put away but we look sharp, fit and in good spirits, which is all you can ask for.”

There was further cause for celebration as the win also marked the long-awaited returns of captain Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze.

Taylor admitted the inclusions of the Lionesses legends provided a welcome boost to the squad.

"It's been a difficult season not having Lucy until January and Steph having been lost early on,” he conceded.

"We had a number of those situations. The numbers are pretty good at the moment - we had a couple of COVID-1 issues before Christmas and in the week.

"Fingers crossed, everyone comes in unscathed because you're only 24 or 48 hours away from positive cases and the landscape changing.

"We've got good options at the moment but the way the world is, it could change in 48 hours. 

"I was speaking to Hope [Powell] before the game. We both had issues before Christmas - you never know what's around the corner.


"It was nice to keep a clean sheet. People can look to the clean sheet and it's definitely been down to the personnel.

"We had to keep changing the back four, as we were missing bodies - Georgia [Stanway] played there a lot; Alex [Greenwood] had so many different partners...”

Taylor also reserved praise for Player of the Match Lauren Hemp, who capped a memorable week in which she signed a new deal by forcing the own-goal opener and doubling the advantage to put City in control in Crawley with a delightful chipped finish.

"One of the messages at half-time was: 'Get it to Lauren!'” he added.

"She was really at it today and brings so much energy to the team. She's great and we're glad to have her. 

"It's the same with Ellen who pit in a leader’s performance today. She'll be disappointed she didn't score but she had a hand in a lot of goals – one that was a real 'route one!'"

The triumph lifted City into fifth in the league table, as Taylor’s side continue to climb in pursuit of a top-three finish and Champions League spot.

However, Taylor asserts there is no benefit in looking too far ahead.

"We're targeting the top. As always, that's the aim at City,” he continued.

"We suffered early on [in the season] – there's no secret there – but we're making steady progress now. 

"The players have been resolute and their attitude: first-class. It's a pleasure to work with them.

"We need to back these performances up. We play in the Conti Cup on Wednesday; then we're back on the road again at Aston Villa. 

"It's one game at a time."

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