Women's Team

Taylor reflects on impressive Blakstad display

Gareth Taylor has hailed the performance of Julie Blakstad after the winger's goalscoring display against Everton.

The Norwegian started on the left flank for City and marked her first start since October's Continental Cup victory over Blackburn with the game's opening goal.

Blakstad had gone close to opening the scoring earlier in the half when a curling left-footed effort whistled just wide of the post, while she also hit the bar from close-range after the break.

With Lauren Hemp facing a brief spell on the sidelines, the 21-year-old's performance was certainly a positive for City moving forward.

And while Taylor pointed out that she still has aspects to improve on in front of goal, he was proud of the shift that Blakstad put in on Merseyside.

"We think for us in our system as an 11 where Lauren plays [is Julie's best position]. They give you different things," he explained.

"It will have done wonders for her confidence scoring the goal.

"She looked physically strong in a tough 90 minutes like that and she coped physically and gets into really good areas.

"She’s a young player from a different league, playing in a new team and hasn’t played since the Continental Cup which can be difficult to get that rhythm.

"She came in and did really well and when you play against that back three like Everton have, you know you’ll get chances."

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Victory over the Toffees keeps City within touching distance of the Barclays Women's Super League's top three, and ensured our fine recent run of form continued.

Taylor was particularly pleased with the display in the first 45, where we created several clear cut opportunities and limited the hosts to a few half chances, before their equaliser late in the half.

However, he also hailed the desire and mentality of his players to grind out the eventual result after Bunny Shaw had tapped home the game's eventual winning goal soon after the restart.

He said: "It was a game of two halves, I think it was a really good performance from us, especially off the back of the international break, you’re never too sure how much rhythm you’ll see.

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"But against a really aggressive Everton press we handled it really well, mixed our game up which allowed us to get through a lot.

"[We are] disappointed with the goal, but it was a good test of character for us coming in at half-time after playing so well.

"In the second half we just went a little bit away from that and probably rushed it a bit but still created good chances.

"Someone said we had 25 attempts today, we need to improve on that for sure and there’s plenty to analyse.

"But I'm really pleased with how the players managed it. [Walton Hall Park] is a tough place to come."

BARCLAYS WSL ETIHAD DERBY: GET YOUR TICKETS

CITY V UNITED: ETIHAD DERBY

City welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 11 December.

Kick-off is scheduled for 12:30 (UK), with tickets selling fast for our third-ever women's match at the Etihad.

We hosted Everton there back in May 2014, before welcoming our local rivals in September 2019, when Caroline Weir’s wonder strike saw us run out 1-0 winners in front of what was then a WSL record crowd, and what remains a club record of 31, 213 fans.

With over 30,000 tickets already sold, it promises to be another historic occasion.

You can secure your tickets online by visiting: www.mancity.com/tickets/womens or by calling: +44 (0)161 444 1894.

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