Manchester City head coach Gareth Taylor believes that his side’s UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona could be a fascinating tie.
City are unbeaten in their last 13 matches in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League while European opponents Barcelona have won all 20 of their matches in the Primera Division this season. Lluis Cortes’ side have also gone more than 15 hours since they last conceded a goal.
Manchester City’s recent record against Spanish opposition in the UEFA Women’s Champions League does not make for good reading with The Cityzens’ last two European adventures having been ended by Atletico Madrid. This is a stronger City team this season though and head coach Taylor believes that both his side and Barcelona have all of the attributes to reach the semi-finals.
“It has all of the ingredients to be a really fascinating game,” said Taylor in the pre-match press conference. “They’re in good form in their league, scoring goals and you could say the same about us.
“It will be interesting to see how it all pans out over the next two games. This is what we are here for, to really challenge ourselves and come up against really good teams.
“It is something that everyone is looking forward to.”
COVID-19 travel restrictions have robbed Barcelona of a home fixture in the quarter-finals with their home leg being moved to a neutral venue in Monza, Italy. Taylor says that playing the away tie at a neutral venue could benefit City, although he is most pleased to have retained home advantage for the second leg.
“Yeah, potentially,” said Taylor when asked whether his side have an advantage of not playing Barcelona on their own turf. “It is nice to have our fixture at home and we are grateful for that.
“When we came up in the FA Cup final I said that the pitch dimensions change slightly but there’s two goals, referee, officials, nothing really changes from that aspect.
“I think when you look at the pandemic and the conclusion of last season’s Champions League, it was a different format in terms of it being played in Northern Spain and quarter-finals, semi-finals and final were single games. It is nice to get back to the original format as much as possible and we are fortunate to be able to get back to the CFA for the second leg.”
The UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Barcelona and Manchester City is scheduled to kick-off at 11.30am on Wednesday morning and will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2.