Women's Team

Taylor: Players rose to the challenge

Taylor: Players rose to the challenge
Gareth Taylor hailed his side’s winning mentality and fighting spirit, as City battled back from a goal down to claim a strong advantage in the Champions League Round of 32.

Goals from Georgia Stanway – her 50th strike for the Club – and Sam Mewis secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Goteborg, after the hosts had inflicted the worst possible start for the away side, breaking the deadlock inside two minutes.

Taylor praised his team’s response to the early setback, especially in difficult conditions, with the visitors netting two crucial away goals to bring back to Manchester for the return leg in seven days’ time.

“It’s really pleasing,” he told ManCity.com.

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“It was good character shown by the players after going behind after two minutes. It wasn’t the start we wanted – they put us under real high pressure on a pitch they’re used to playing on.

“It was a different environment but that’s the beauty of the competition: visiting different countries and getting different experiences. It’s something we enjoy and want more of.

“It wasn’t a great start but from that moment on, the spirit from the girls was great and we dominated.

“Arguably, we could have scored more goals but to go back to Manchester with two away goals and a win was the most important thing.

“When we are in that level of high energy and we have that mentality, we have to score.


                        Taylor: Players rose to the challenge

“Sometimes, our decision-making can be slightly off and we can get anxious.

“We had 88 minutes of the game left and when the second half opened up a bit, we could have had more goals.

“We knew that – no matter what – the tie wouldn’t be over with the second leg next Wednesday.”

Caroline Weir produced another Player of the Match performance, crafting another assist for Mewis’ first Champions League goal – her fourth assist in two games!

Taylor reserved further praise for the Scotland international, revealing he has challenged his players to add more goals to their personal tallies this season, including half-centurion Stanway.

“I was really grateful Caroline put in a great ball for Sam to plant a good header,” he continued.

“It was a similar goal and of similar quality to what was on show in Sunday’s game against Everton.

“That’s what we’re looking for. She’s had four assists in her last two games but we’ve challenged her to bring that and add goals.

“With the quality she has, we’re expecting goals and hopefully, they’re not far.

“Georgia has really high energy. She worked tremendously hard, I didn’t want to take her off but there was a concern as she had a yellow card.

“She scored a brilliant goal and she’s another player we’ve challenged with the quality and shooting ability she has.

WATCH: Houghton pays tribute to Stanway after 50th City goal

“The girls rib her about the number of shots she has but we want to see more of that, hitting the target.”

Taylor also shared an update on Demi Stokes and Lauren Hemp, who were absent in the matchday squad and did not travel to Sweden.

“We gave Demi compassionate leave, as she had a family member pass away,” he explained. “It was the right thing to do.

“Hempo didn’t travel as a precaution. Looking ahead to a high number of games in a small period, we thought that with her history, it was best not to have her travel or play on the pitch.

“We needed to look at the bigger picture.”

City return to league action on Sunday with a crunch heavyweight clash against Arsenal at the Academy Stadium (14:30 UK time).

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With two wins from two in December, Taylor’s side head into the clash in good form and the boss says he is relishing the encounter.

“It will be a good game,” he previewed.

“We’re in amongst it (in the title race) and three points would be a big push for us.

“We want momentum. We’ve had two wins and we’re pleased with that.

“We have three games to come before Christmas, which is a nice run of games, and we’re looking forward to it.”


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