Manchester City return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League action tomorrow following a humbling 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final in midweek.
Gareth Taylor’s side face Reading at The Academy Stadium and while they will be expected to return to winning ways, the City head coach is taking nothing for granted.
“I think there was some disappointment because when we looked at the game in isolation, 3-0 doesn’t look like we had many positives,” Taylor said in his pre-match press conference when reflecting on the Barcelona defeat. “Actually, when we looked at the game back and checked the stats and the data, it was very, very even.
“They took their chances and we didn’t take ours.”
City must now put that defeat to the back of their minds as they welcome Kelly Chambers’ Reading side to The Academy Stadium in Saturday’s late kick-off. The Royals have already beaten one Manchester club away from home this season, defeating United 2-0 at The Leigh Sports Village just a few weeks ago.
“I think it’s really important that you don’t underestimate your next opponents and our next opponents tomorrow are a team that have taken points off us this season, they’ve taken points off other teams as well, they are not to be underestimated,” said Taylor. “I’d like to see a positive response from our guys on our own patch.
“We’ve worked tremendously hard to get to this point where we are in contention with an opportunity but that’s all it is. We know that we can’t underestimate any of the five opponents that we have remaining and I think that’s the right attitude to have.”
City will take on Reading without their influential captain Steph Houghton who continues her spell on the sidelines. Taylor confirmed that Houghton suffered an Achilles injury in the UEFA Women’s Champions League round of 16 first leg tie against Fiorentina and that it will still be some time before we see her again in a City shirt.
Taylor commented on the situation by saying “We’ve just been given some fresh information, we’re probably looking at between a two to three-week period minimum, unfortunately.”
Away from the upcoming fixtures, there was some big broadcasting news for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this week with a multi-million pound deal having been agreed with Sky and BBC. Taylor like many has welcomed the increased exposure for the league and the opportunities that it will bring to the competition.
“We’ve seen a big shift over the last six years in terms of professionalism and interest within the women’s game and this will only help,” he said. “I only thought it was a matter of time before that would happen and I can only see it going from strength-to-strength.”
Manchester City’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Reading is scheduled to kick-off at 5.30pm tomorrow evening and will be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player.