Women's Team

City v Barcelona: Taylor on team news

Gareth Taylor has confirmed Demi Stokes has been ruled out of City’s UEFA Women’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

The left-back had made her first start since returning from injury in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Reading before being substituted on the hour mark.

In a bid to manage the defender’s comeback carefully, Stokes had been re-introduced to action gradually and was brought on at half-time of the European first leg in Italy.

However, Taylor explained she will not be in contention for the home tie in Manchester, despite being called up as one of 11 City stars in England’s squad.


Meanwhile, captain Steph Houghton, who has not featured since making her 200th appearance for the Club in early March, was not included in the Lionesses' squad list and Taylor offered an update on the skipper.

“With Demi, it is ongoing,” he said. “We are waiting to hear the report in the scan to see what that looks like for her.

“She won’t feature in tomorrow’s squad unfortunately.

“Steph will be a couple of weeks. That rules her out of the England camp unfortunately but at least we have a timescale to get her back on the pitch.

“Outside of that, pretty much everyone has checked in okay.”

City face a tough ask to progress to the semi-finals, needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the away leg and avoid conceding an away goal.

Despite the extent of the challenge, Taylor says he has the utmost faith and belief that his squad can produce what would be a sensational comeback and celebrate a special night for the Club and for women’s football.

“We have given ourselves an uphill task but in terms of being confident, we can achieve,” he asserted. “We will be going for it.

“I think we have proven we can score goals. We are the first team to 50 goals in the league. If we can score first, it changes things.

“When we looked at the stats (from the first leg), they suggested it was close in terms of chances and expected goals. That gives us perspective.

“We are not safe; we know the game is played in both boxes. We know we need to take our chances and not give chances away.

“It would be nice to score early but the longer the game goes on, if we are in touching distance, we have proven we can score goals late on. We will be going for it.

“Our approach will be similar to what we always look at in most of our games. We need to be tighter in terms of not giving away opportunities.

“Barcelona team has scored over a 100 goals this season. There are areas we can exploit and we will be looking to do that.

“It is achievable but we know we need to be really tight in everything we do. We need things to go our way. We understand that.

“We will give it our very best, be on the front foot from minute one and take the game to Barca as much as we can.

“If we weren’t creating chances, then we would need to look at finding another way or take our hat off to say they are incredible defensively.

“There are areas we can exploit - we did in the first game. It is just a question of taking chances. The first game could have been high scoring. We have been fairly solid defensively this season. We need it to go well for us.

“Let’s try our very best to be the ones to buck the trend (of limited comebacks in the Women's Champions League).

“We are in a situation where the chips have to go all in. I don't want the players to come off feeling we were cautious. We have to be brave.”