Women's Team

Taylor’s pride for ‘impressive’ winning run

Gareth Taylor says his players should feel immense pride for the way City have turned our season around.

The Continental Cup winners took a huge step towards a top-three spot with Wednesday night’s 4-0 triumph over Everton, moving level on points with third-placed Manchester United.

The victory marked our second successive win over the Toffees by the same scoreline, after we earned progression in the Women’s FA Cup, and our 15th win in our last 17 games in all competitions.

Having endured a challenging start to the 2021/22 campaign, Taylor asserts his side should be congratulated for their achievements.

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“I’ve always been proud of this team – even when we’ve struggled,” he declared.

“We didn’t overly whinge. There were plenty of excuses we could have made and some were valid, but you find out a lot in those moments and for us to have shown the character, energy and work ethic we have is testament to the players.

“They drive things. We’re there to help, support and guide. We’re doing really well and it’s a case of: ‘If only we had that at the start of the season…’

“[People questioned us but] that happens. People are being paid to have an opinion and that’s part and parcel of it.

“Sometimes, people don’t know key details or have had the experience, which can be tough to take, but we have perspective and we’re mature enough – I’ve been in the game a long time – to know criticism is easy to find.

“It is what it is. Now, it’s the same in terms of going the other way: people are patting us on the back and rightly so.

“The ground we’ve made up is impressive. I look at the here and now with what players are achieving. In the last 16, 17 games, our record is better than anyone’s and that’s something to be proud of. Everyone has contributed to us being in a healthy position.

“For me, it’s about the football we play. It’s about entertaining our supporters, who travel everywhere, and we’re sending them home happy, feeling good having played entertaining football with the girls trying their hearts out.”

Wednesday night’s win marked the Club’s 100th in the WSL, since joining the division as a professional outfit, as we reached the milestone in record time.

Reflecting on the game, Taylor admitted his side were not at our sharp-shooting best but was naturally pleased with the result.

“It was probably the right result,” he continued. “We controlled the play again. We weren’t sure what to expect and it’s always difficult to play against five at the back – to break them down – but there were good bits in the first half.

“Everton engaged in this game more than the last one. We went ahead and then in the second half, we needed to change the rhythm. It was a bit flat, especially in the final actions. Sometimes, you need to slow it down but sometimes, you need to move it quicker.

“I didn’t think that in the second half, we worked the goalkeeper enough until we scored. We always look at ourselves and try to improve. We can be overly critical at times but when you get in situations like that, you want to impact the game and score goals. Our play deserves it.

“We’re scoring goals – that’s the impressive things. I’ve looked at the stats and we’ve scored away more goals than our competitors – our goals for and goals against are very good. In the last 17 games, we’ve had 11 clean sheets, which is impressive.

“We had two goals from corners – the first and the third, while the second and fourth were good team goals. Keira played a good ball for the first and Lucy drives into he box and cuts back for Ellen, who holds her run with a good finish.

“The fourth goal was good play from Bunny. She could have gone on her own but she showed good awareness to pick our Coombsy with another good finish.

“Then, in 30 seconds, we scored two goals so that threw a false bit at the end but we controlled the play and showed good build-up. There were some good performances from individuals, while some were off the pace, but we’ve played a heavy schedule and full credit to the players to have come away with an impressive win.

“Players are giving us the width and we’re pleased, especially after a heavy schedule. Now, we need to finish off this run [of home games] on Sunday [against Birmingham] before we have a little extended break before West Ham.

“We expect it to be tight. There’s still a bit of wiggle room and games to come. It’s good for us to have clawed back to this position and we have to do what we can in the remaining games.

“We’re moving in the right direction but we’re always looking for the icing on the cake, the best outcome. We’re honest with the players. We knew we could have come away with more and we hold ourselves accountable but we’ll keep working to give ourselves the best opportunity to finish actions with key decision-making around the final third.

“[100 league wins] is interesting. It feels like there’s a new stat every week of wins or appearances but it’s great and it shows the progression we’re having as a Club.

“Now, we want more – the next milestone!” 

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