Women's Team

Taylor hails returning Mannion and 'professional' Dahlkemper

Taylor hails returning Mannion and 'professional' Dahlkemper
Gareth Taylor says the City players and staff could not be happier for Aoife Mannion, following the right-back’s return from injury.

The defender made her long-awaited comeback in Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham – introduced from the bench for her first taste of action since suffering an ACL injury in October 2019.

Her emergence onto the Academy Stadium pitch was greeted with cheers from her peers (and again in the post-match huddle)  – and Taylor says the 25-year-old deserved to enjoy her moment, after more than a year of hard work.

“It’s great to see Aoife back,” he declared. “She’s been out for a long time and will be really pleased to get some action.

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“It was a nice game for her to come into. She got some touched on the ball and she’ll be really pleased.

“It’s great for her. The girls really supported her well. It was a good moment for everyone.”

Reflecting on the triumph – gained with four goals from four different scorers – Taylor expressed his delight.

“We've played some good stuff,” he said. “There are bits we could improve slightly in spells but I have to give credit to the girls.


                        Taylor hails returning Mannion and 'professional' Dahlkemper

“I seem to be bit of broken record about lack of personnel available but credit to them, we've had to move a few positions around but they've coped really well.

“4-0 is a good result – no matter which way you look at it: a clean sheet, four goals... We’ve been scoring goals freely since the turn of the year and in some games before that.

“We have to be happy. It was important to put three points on the board.”

There was further cause for celebration, as Rose Lavelle also returned from injury, marking her comeback with a goal, while Abby Dahlkemper was handed an immediate debut.

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Taylor was impressed with the contributions of both United States stars and was thrilled with Dahlkemper’s instant impact – as a player and a role model.

“I always thought at some point we’d introduce her,” he admitted, “even if she was on the bench.

“She started today but it’s important we give her time. She’s settled in nicely and looked the part. She made good decisions.

“It was a real positive performance from her, given she’s only had three of four training sessions.

“You want them to pass down the way things are done, the importance of professionalism…

“Young players need guidance and to have the US players around it great. It rubs off onto the other players.

“The spirit in training and in the City Football Academy building has been great.”

On Lavelle, he continued: “It seems a long time since we saw Rose.

WATCH: Welcome to Manchester: Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle

“She went away with the US and gained some minutes. She’s been back for a few training sessions.

“To get her on the pitch was good. She looked sharp and bright. We’re pleased to have her back.”

Taylor also shared an injury update on missing players Sam Mewis, Gemma Bonner, Demi Stokes, Esme Morgan, Janine Beckie and Jess Park, explaining he hopes to have the majority back in contention for the trip to Arsenal.

In addition, he allayed fears of an injury to Lucy Bronze, after the right-back was substituted shortly after the hour.

“[With Lucy] we just made a change,” he revealed. “We have to look after her. She gives you bursts of energy but we have to change things sometimes.

“No-one is safe from coming off. She did well but it was just a case of looking after her.

“Janine will be back in a few days. She wasn’t ready for today’s game and it’s the same with Jess Park.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be back with us.

WATCH: Dahlkemper inspired by Mewis, Lavelle success

“We’ll look at Demi and Sam as the week progresses, but Gemma will be out longer.

“Esme is probably out for a few weeks with a thigh strain.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a couple back next weekend.”

City’s next two games yield mouth-watering league encounters against fourth-placed Arsenal and second-placed Manchester United.

Asked of the significance of the two crunch clashes, Taylor admitted February could prove to be a title-defining month.

“I think they are [title deciders],” he stated. “They would say the same.

“It seems to be the way that with 12 teams in the league, it doesn't give much competition.

“In the Premier League, teams who were top are now eighth and teams who were eighth are now top… You don’t get that in the women’s game.

“It’s just a case of picking up as many points as possible and then it’s defined by the top three teams playing each other.

“It’s going to come down to who’s successful in those games. That will have a bearing on the title.

“It’s important to stay in the mix. We have gained nine points from our last three games… Now, the next two are big games and ones we’re looking forward to.”

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