Women's Team

City v Real Madrid: Taylor on team news

City v Real Madrid: Taylor on team news
Gareth Taylor says Georgia Stanway and Ellen White could be in contention to start in Wednesday night’s Women’s Champions League visit of Real Madrid.

City host the European debutants in the second leg of our Round Two encounter at the Academy Stadium, having drawn 1-1 in the Spanish capital last Tuesday.

Both Stanway and White missed the trip but returned from the bench on 65 minutes in Saturday’s impressive 4-0 triumph at Everton, as the City boss was able to rotate the squad, making five changes to allow rest time for some players and provide valuable minutes for others.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Taylor was asked whether the pair would be fit to start and also confirmed the Club are still awaiting international clearance for new recruit Filippa Angeldahl.

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“There is nothing stopping us,” he replied. “The question is: would they be able to sustain 90 minutes?

“Some of the players have only been back two weeks and trying to get their training time up has been difficult, especially for Georgia and Ellen who have had these niggling injuries.

“You don't want to be making changes earlier on in the game unless you’re in a position like we were on Saturday.

“It was really good for the new players to get that cohesion. It helped but there were played who needed to get to the 90-minute barriers. It’s about getting the balance right.

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“[For some players], it is more about getting training volume under their belts.

“We have got Filippa as well, who has been with us for the last few days. She is a quality player and great to have.  We’re still waiting on her international clearance but we’ve got some really good options in midfield.”

There was less positive news regarding City’s goalkeeping options. Karen Bardsley was not named in Saturday’s matchday squad, while Ellie Roebuck is sidelined with a calf injury.

Taylor admitted Bardsley has suffered a setback in her return from the hamstring injury that kept her out of the Olympics, but has been impressed with deputy shot-stopper Karima Benameur Taieb’s performances in our first two games.

“Unfortunately for Karen, she had been back and she was doing quite a lot of on-pitch bits,” he explained.

“We had a bit of desperate situation. With Ellie’s injury and Karima only just returning – although she has been amazing in the two games - we needed Karen, but she has still got a tear there, which confirms what she knew that something wasn’t right.

“It’s a setback for Karen, but she will be okay. She has got a really good positive mindset. It is just going to take her a bit longer to return.

“Karima has been fantastic. She never let us down when she played previously. Now she is the main option in goal and she has really risen to the challenge.

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“I always get concerned when the goalkeeper is in Team of the Week in a 4-0 win! She was really busy in Madrid but she was calm and a safe pair of hands. It is a sign of a really good team that we are able to lose some players and players come in and make an impression.”

With a new Champions League format introduced for the 2021/22 campaign, the away goals rule no longer applies.

Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg with a severely depleted squad, Taylor says he was pleased with the result – despite conceding an injury-time leveller – but insists his side are in a much better position for Wednesday night’s second leg.

“It’s very even,” he added. “Obviously, with the away goals being dropped now it is completely even.

“In terms of importance, it is massively important. We probably brought out the toughest tie we could have. We are aware of that.

“We have got a good result under our belts. I think we will be in a better place when we start tomorrow night.”

Don’t miss the chance to witness our first home game of the new season in Wednesday’s home opener against Real Madrid. Tickets for the game are now on sale, while the clash is also available to watch live on CITY+.

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