Women's Team

Taylor: We had to win ugly

Gareth Taylor says he is proud of the way City ground out victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Caroline Weir’s solitary strike separated the sides at the Hive, extending our impressive form and closing the gap on Spurs and Manchester United in the race for a Champions League spot.

In difficult conditions with a bobbly pitch, the visitors produced a spirited display to edge a close contest and Taylor admits that while it was not a glamorous game, it was a pivotal three points.

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“It was an important win against an opponent in and around us,” he reflected.

“We’d spoken before the game and assessed that the pitch wasn’t great. We try to play on the ground, which made it difficult.

“We spoke about winning ugly and that was pretty ugly! Even the goal was scruffy but we managed to get it over the line! It doesn’t have to be pretty!

“It was really pleasing, especially going into these next games on the back of our [Continental Cup] success last week.

“I’m always someone who prides myself on our performance. We’ve probably played miles better than that and not won!

“We like to build from the back but we knew we had to adapt a little bit.

“I felt like we were playing two centrally. We needed to use our pace a little more. We tweaked a few things and did it slightly better in the second half and just about did enough to win the game.

“We’ll take it for what it is at this stage of the season. At the end of the day, in a couple of weeks’ time, the result will say 1-0 and no-one will go on about the performance!

“It was important to get the win – however it came.”

Weir’s effort marked her fifth goal in her last four games, and Taylor expressed his delight for her contributions inside the box as well as those she crafts so spectacularly from distance.

“The goals she’s scoring are goals I’ve challenged her with,” he stated.

“We know she can score from 30 yards – she has that quality – but the real challenge for her was getting her into the six-yard box positions.

“Her goal was similar to the couple she got against Chelsea and it’s great. She’s got to be in there to finish them off.”

As has been the case in our last few games, City performed better in the second 45 minutes. Coincidentally, Taylor made a change at half-time, introducing Julie Blakstad for Demi Stokes, which he explained was both tactical and fitness-based.

“It was a little bit of both,” he added. “Demi had only trained for two days since the Chelsea win and if you look at that, she’s missed three or four training sessions.

“My thought process was to bat the same team after our success [last weekend]. They deserved that.

“Sometimes, you can get a flat performance but we upped the ante in the second half. Sometimes, subs work and sometimes, they don’t but Julie contributed well. It’s about managing Demi so we don’t lose her going into a heavy schedule.”

There was more cause for concern with Ellie Roebuck forced off, following a head collision. While Taylor admitted it is too early to diagnose concussion, Roebuck was suffering and was brought off as a precaution.

“She’d had a couple of contacts,” he continued. “She actually had one in training and clashed with Bunny [Shaw].

“We had to make sure she was okay. She had some clouded vision and we couldn’t take the risk

“I don’t know [if it is concussion]. She took a facial knock yesterday, which was just a graze, but our doctors and medics will make sure she’s okay.

“You can never be sure [about concussion] but why take the risk? We had to take her off.”

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City now embark on a run of four successive home games with crunch fixtures in the league and Women’s FA Cup.

Having won 12 of our last 14 games, Taylor’s side are in excellent form and the Head Coach hopes his side can ride the crest of the wave to the end of the campaign.

“With seven games to go, this was so important,” he concluded. “Going into this period, to start with a victory and we’ve done that.

“Belief comes from doing things in the right way, gaining confidence. As much as want to bottle what happened last weekend and bring that feeling to the players, sometimes it vanishes pretty quickly.

“It’s important for the players that they realise they're more than capable. All we have to do is reinforce that, give them confidence and when they make mistakes, understand they’re trying to do the right things.

“It’s important as staff for us to make sure they build confidence and know they’re capable.

“This was a big victory. We’re more than capable of going for a run, as we have done previously.

“In the remaining games now, it’s important to gain ground on those around us. We did that against United as well.

“They’ll be focusing on what they do. They got a decent win yesterday but we’ll keep chipping away.

“People will look at fixtures but there are no easy games. That was proven [on Sunday].

“It was two teams going for it – not wanting to give anything away. Tottenham have had a good season. It was really pleasing to get the win and the clean sheet.

“They may look like simple games but we play Wednesday, then in the FA Cup next weekend; then Everton [the following Wednesday] and the games will be pretty full on…”

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