Women's Team

Taylor: We showed our class

Gareth Taylor says City’s class shone through in Wednesday night’s Continental Cup triumph over Bristol.

The home side booked our place in the semi-finals of the competition, battling back from a goal down to claim a 3-1 triumph at the Academy Stadium, thanks to a Bunny Shaw brace and Vicky Losada strike.

Reflecting on the win, Taylor was pleased with the character his side portrayed to bounce back from the early setback, maintaining composure to turn the game on its head and seal the tie.

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“It was a good performance,” he said. “We got the game we expected from Bristol – we knew they’d previously come out and high press the opposition they’ve come up against.

“They’re a decent team and make it really difficult for you because they never really let off in their pressure. We handled that well.

“We had a setback, the character was good, we remained calm knowing we’d get back in the game at some point and two bits of quality from Bunny Shaw.

“In the second half, we controlled the game – we retained possession really well and created good opportunities. If we’re nit-picking, we probably should’ve scored more but we have to be happy and we are really pleased to get through.

“The fight back was really positive. We remained fairly calm in a difficult situation and eventually showed our class.

“We never want to go behind, but we know that when we have done previously, and we did it twice before Christmas against Birmingham.

“The team showed real character and belief in what we do. And I think what we do is continue to play the same way, make sure we’re really key within the details, and make the most of it when we get those opportunities.

“It was slightly different tonight because we had some good opportunities we didn’t take, and it took a moment of magic really from Bunny for the first goal.

“That probably settled everyone's nerves, then it was only a matter of time. We could have scored more goals – that’s something we’ll look at: what were our final decisions were like in the main and from set plays as well.

“I thought the set piece delivery was really good but we’ve got to have more of an effect in scoring goals.

“There were some really pleasing aspects but also plenty to work on but when you come to this stage of a competition it’s about getting through, and we’re through to a semi-final. We’re really pleased with that and looking forward to seeing who we draw.”

Taylor also reserved praise for two-goal Shaw, plus Vicky Losada and teenage goalkeeper Khiara Keating, who once again deputised between the sticks.

On Bunny, he hailed: “She was great. Considering she's been off with COVID, we were limited in terms of what we could do with her and her minutes but we checked the stats at half-time and decided to keep her out there for another 15 minutes just to help Ellen White as well because her workload has been high in those first three games [of 2022].

“We’re pleased. We saw a glimpse of what Bunny’s all about before Christmas and now we’re seeing more of the player we want to see in Bunny. It was a good performance from her.”

Losada also impressed, netting her fourth goal in as many games, and Taylor was equally thrilled with the midfielder’s contribution.

“She scores goals and probably should have had the match ball tonight!” he joked.

“I gave her a compliment and then said: ‘I expected a bit more from you with your quality’ because she brings that.

“Again, what we’re seeing is a player developing a bit of rhythm in her game. She controls the tempo well.

“We managed the midfield areas well tonight whether it was Laura [Coombs] and Vicky in there and Caroline Weir coming on as well – good to see her back.

“We’ve got players scoring goals now. Georgia [Stanway] probably should've scored again tonight but the good thing is we’re getting in those positions and scoring at the moment.

“We just need to make sure when it comes to important moments, we make sure we score more than we miss.”

Keating played her third successive game in goal. Though she conceded her first goal, there was little she could do to prevent Alex Greenwood’s own-goal and Taylor has been proud of her maturity, aided by a loan spell with AFC Fylde.

The level and the physicality she will have got at Fylde, especially against teams who are probably more direct, will have been a different experience but she’s looked very calm and assured,” he analysed.

“She handled things really well considering her age and lack of experience and we’ve been pleased with her.

“She’ll have enjoyed tonight. She had some moments of high pressure against her with the build-up but she handled it well – as did all the players.

“Our build-up play was good all the way through and then it’s always going to be about the final shot, the final decision and the final execution will always be key for us.”

Taylor also provided an update on long-term absentees Ellie Roebuck, Chloe Kelly and Esme Morgan, confirming the trio’s recoveries are progressing well.

“t’s hard to say a timeline,” he said. “We’ve got Ellie Roebuck who is probably the next in line – again not too sure but she's close, she’s getting there and has had a few setbacks along the way which is probably why we’re reluctant to set a timeline.

Chloe Kelly is doing really well, we should see her on pitch soon which sounds like she’s close but then we have to get a high number of hours into her in terms of training and Esme is similar but probably just slightly behind Chloe.

“It’s good at the moment – we’ve been able to manage the likes of Lucy and Steph in their return. I thought Ruby Mace came on tonight and really didn’t look out of place and showed real maturity in her play.

“There’s some real positives at the moment. The higher the playing pool we have to select from the better opportunities it gives us to win the game.”

WHAT'S NEXT

City welcome Arsenal us a crunch FA WSL clash for our first home league game of 2022.

Don't miss your chance to cheer on Gareth Taylor's side on Sunday 23 January. Kick-off 18:45 at the Academy Stadium.

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