Women's Team

Taylor: European qualification an amazing achievement

Gareth Taylor hailed his side's togetherness, mentality and professionalism as City completed the FA Women's Super League season with Champions League qualification.

A thumping 4-0 win over Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, courtesy of two goals in each half from Lauren Hemp, Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood, claimed our 13th successive win in all competitions to cement third spot.

The triumph marked our 21st win in our last 23 games - a remarkable run of form which has turned our season around. Following a stuttering start of disappointing results and injuries, the squad enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since the turn of the calendar year, lifting our fourth Continental Cup in the process, and Taylor says Sunday's accomplishment is deserved reward for their efforts.


"Mission accomplished," he told mancity.com. "If you think about where we were seven or eight games in, earlier in the season, to do what we've done is amazing.

"It takes a real collective to do that. Behind-the-scenes, the players have been great. I've been demanding of them and to go on the consecutive winning run we've been on is superb. I have massive respect for them.

"I've said it before: belief has been key, and trust in the process. They're easy words to use but they're really key in showing our identity as both people and as a team.

"We've done that. At times, people have been quick to judge us from the outside world but inside the organisation, it's been great - we've trusted each other and we've got there."

Reflecting on the win in Berkshire, Taylor was full of praise for the way his players managed the pressure of the occasion.

"Fair play, we got our objective and we're absolutely delighted," he added.

"It was a big pitch, we needed to work the opposition... It was a brilliant first goal: the ball from Keira [Walsh] and then a superb run and finish from Lauren.

"I said to the girls at full-time: we could have been better with our ball retention, although there were some good passages - but it's difficult to be critical after the emotions of a final game, with the pressure of knowing what we had to do."

Our victory saw City bag four or more goals for the fifth game in succession, with four different players on the scoresheet.

Impressive performances all round saw several players stake a claim for a starting spot in next weekend's eagerly-awaited FA Cup Final at Wembley, where the squad could complete the campaign with two trophies and European football - an accomplishment that would rank amongst one of our most successful seasons.

Though Taylor admits there is plenty of excitement for next week's showpiece, he asserts the players must dig deep to defeat newly-crowned FA WSL Champions Chelsea, as we did in March's Conti Cup Final.

"We can turn our attentions to that game now. We tried our hardest not to focus on that [before the Reading game] and that's difficult," he admitted.

"We've tried to educate the players on what's important: the now, the next game... We still had a job to do - it wasn't like we were playing for nothing.

"It was great in that respect and now we can really look forward to next week. We've got work to do but it's exciting times.

"We're coming up against a good Chelsea team, who for the last five or six years, have been relentless with trophies - but in the last two seasons, we're probably the only team to have taken trophies off them.

"We know what that looks like, what it feels like because we've done it, and we'll do our very best to do it again."

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