Women's Team

Bronze: It’s been like two seasons in one!

Lucy Bronze says City’s 2021/22 campaign has been a real ‘season of two halves.’

Gareth Taylor’s side endured a challenging start, winning just five of our opening 14 games, but bounced back in emphatic fashion at the turn of the year, emerging victorious in 21 of our last 23 games in all competitions.

During that sensational run of form, we also lifted our fourth Continental Cup with a superb comeback win over Chelsea and reflecting on the end of the league term, Bronze admits her side’s progress is astonishing.

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“We’re feeling good,” she told mancity.com. “It’s the best the squad has felt all year.

“Off the back of some disappointments this season, what we’ve achieved is fantastic. It says a lot about the character of the team and the individuals who have pulled out performances, working hard and sticking together.

“It’s been like two different seasons in one… We were in a difficult position just before Christmas but there wasn’t much more we could do other than focus on ourselves. That cliché of ‘one game at a time’ was very prevalent in that moment.

“We’ve just taken everything in our stride, not looking too far ahead to Cup Finals or too far behind to disappointing results and performances. It was just about getting the result on the day and building on that.

“Since Christmas, we’ve been on a great run, picking up points and scoring goals. It’s nice that we got one trophy and that we’re in another Final, and the Champions League is where this team should be.

“In a way, it’s more special [because of the start] but it’s also disappointing because you think: ‘What position would we be in if we’d have performed better or not had so many injuries?’

“But even if you would have asked a fully-fit squad at the start of the season if they’d want to end the season with potentially two trophies and a Champions League spot, they’d say it would be a really good season.”

City complete the campaign with a mouth-watering FA Cup Final clash at Wembley on Sunday, facing League Champions and fellow Continental Cup Finalists Chelsea.

Bronze, who scored in the 2017 FA Cup showpiece as we wrote our name onto the trophy for the first time, admits the competition will always hold a special place in her heart and says she could not dream of a more exciting pairing.

“I couldn’t imagine two better teams going head-to-head with how things have gone recently,” she added.

“Both teams have really good players and have good momentum, winning games and playing well. Although there will be key players missing on both sides, which makes a difference to how each team will set up, it’s going to be a fantastic head-to-head.

“There’s going to be a lot of things talked about ahead of the Final. We’d never played them in a Final before and now we’re going to have played them twice in domestic Cup Finals in one season!

“They’ve won three of our fixtures across the season, we’ve won one… They’ve probably had a smoother ride, whereas we’ve dipped really low and then reached really high.

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“The FA Cup is always special. I never take it for granted. Each FA Cup Final reminds me of the days of being young and having aspirations of playing in a Final, having those dreams…

“Your first FA Cup Final is a special moment. It was a big moment in my career personally, although I actually lost – I was 17 years old, playing against the best team in the country in Arsenal.

“After the West Ham [semi-final] game, Alanna Kennedy said: ‘It will be my first game at Wembley’ and all the girls were saying: ‘You’re going to love it!’

“Once you’ve had that experience, it’s extra special to see someone else have it and it takes you back to your first time.

“Hopefully, everyone will enjoy it and it will be another great moment for us.”

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