Gareth Taylor

Manchester City Women’s manager Gareth Taylor claimed that Aston Villa had more “fight” than his side after their 4-3 defeat during their WSL season opener.

It was a difficult start for Taylor’s side, who despite welcoming back captain Steph Houghton following a long-term Achilles injury, struggled to find their groove as their much-changed side tried to gel. The Blues struggled to adjust to the departure of Keira Walsh, who joined Barcelona this summer for a world-record fee of £400,000, as they found themselves 2-0 down after half an hour had been played.

City did pull a goal back just before half-time thanks to Laura Coombs’ strike, which sparked a come-back in the second-half that saw the Blues score two goals within ten minutes of the restart, as they went 3-2 up. However, Villa were back on level terms just three minutes later, before Rachel Daly scored her second goal of the match in the 76th minute to seal all three points for the hosts.

Taylor was undoubtedly frustrated to walk away with nothing after scoring three goals in the match. The City coach spoke to the press after the full-time whistle, as he shared his thoughts on a disappointing start to the season for the Blues.

He said: “To lose a game from that point is a real tough one to take because we show[ed] good character. But if you concede four goals away, you’ve got to struggle to get anything out of the game.

“[At half-time] I Just said we needed to be better, we need to be better with the ball, without the ball. There was a bit more fight in the Villa team in the first half. And we were probably waiting for things to happen for us a little bit, expecting them to happen. But we got a bit of a lifeline with with Laura’s [Coombs] goal just before the half.

“And yeah, tweaked a couple of things tactically, which I think helped us. But again, it was just without the ball, where we had issues and they [Villa] caused problems.”

The remedy to City’s opening defeat is a simple one, according to Taylor, as he detailed what his side need to do to bounce back against Chelsea next week.

He said: “For us, it’s simple, we have to dust ourselves down, we support each other really well. And we stick at it because we know, or we have an idea, of what this group of players are capable of doing, and [it’s] going to take a little bit of time. It’s not the start we wanted, there’s no denying that, and it is a disappointment. But there’ll be no sad faces come Chelsea away next week, we need to work really hard in that game to get anything from it.

“I think I’ve said previously that regardless of of how the outcomes are in the first few games, I have high faith and high belief in this team. But again, we need to earn it, I think that’s a really important part — we have to go out and take games by the scruff of the neck and do the dirty work without the ball, not be too nice. Because nothing is given to you, especially in this league.”


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