Women's Team

Taylor pleased with ‘professional’ display

Gareth Taylor hailed his side’s professionalism, as City progressed to the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup with a 5-0 win over Leicester.

The visitors stormed into a 4-0 half-time lead at the Pirelli Stadium, thanks to a Lauren Hemp double, plus goals from Ellen White and Georgia Stanway, before Vicky Losada added gloss to the scoreline with a sensational 30-yard chip.

Tough facing a youthful Foxes side, Taylor was delighted with the manner of victory, as the away side produced a thoroughly dominant and clinical performance to clinch qualification to the last eight.

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“I’m really pleased,” he reflected. “Job done, though we arguably could have settled this earlier in the group stage.

“We made a good start. I thought the way the players handled the game was really good. We were professional.

“There were some really good goals. I thought the quality of play in the first half, particularly around the area was great.

“I think they showed tonight what a good team we can be. We know we have a long way to go and it’s about remaining consistent.

“I thought in the second half we were back to the first half against Brighton – the final pass and decision making was off but this is only the second game back after a break.

“Naturally, when you make four changes in the second period, it is going to affect the rhythm of the team.

“That needs to be considered but I think all the players took the challenge on tonight and were brilliant.

“We have to be pleased with the contribution of everyone.”

Taylor also provided a squad update with Karima Taieb replaced by teenage debutant Khiara Keating in the warm-up, while Laura Coombs, Caz Weir and Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw also missed out.

“Laura had a bit of swelling on her knee that didn’t settle down in time, even to make the bench,” he explained. “We had to make a decision with Saturday [against Aston Villa] in mind.

“[With Karima] It was the decision of it being too risky if we started her and we potentially could have lost her. It was a bit of a groin issue.

“It was great for Khiara. We were looking at giving her minutes anyway.

“I’m not one who likes to make loads of changes but at the moment it is important. It is really difficult because we have three games in six days. We had a healthy number last week.

“At one point we had 18 or 19 and then a couple of outbreaks of COVID-19 and Alana [Kennedy] and Hayley [Raso] went to the Asia Cup and we lose Laura Coombs and Karima in the warm up.

“The changes [in the second half] allowed us to protect Lucy [Bronze] and Steph [Houghton]. Three games in six days is tough.

“Hopefully, we can get Khadija back. We’ll have to see with Caroline.

“Hopefully, we will be a little bit healthier with numbers on Saturday.”

Wednesday’s triumph sets up a home tie against Bristol City in the quarter-finals with Taylor highlighting the importance of home advantage, as his side look to reach the last four.

“A home tie is great,” he added.

“We’ve been on the road a bit recently so it’s nice to get a game back in our stadium. I said to the players it is a good opportunity.

“We knew what we had to do tonight. It is mission accomplished and we look forward to the next round.”

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