Gareth Taylor and Manchester City Women determined to upset the odds
Gareth Taylor wants Manchester City to write a new chapter for women’s football by emulating Liverpool and beating Barcelona from 3-0 down in the Champions League.
City were well beaten in the first leg last week by the runaway Spanish league leaders, giving themselves a major uphill task if they are to reach the semi-finals.
It was in the last four of the men’s event two years ago that Liverpool recovered from the same deficit with a 4-0 second-leg victory, going on to lift the trophy.
Taylor said: “I was at that game in Barcelona. Of course this is not the first time with that scoreline. It’s achievable. But we know we’ve got to be really tight with everything we do.
“We’ve not seen it previously (in the women’s game) – let’s change that. Let’s try our very best to be the ones that do buck the trend.”
Barcelona have won all 21 of their league games this season, scoring 103 goals and conceding only three. They have kept a clean sheet in each of their last 12 matches, demonstrating the size of City’s task.
Taylor, though, sees it as eminently achievable, saying: “I think we’ve proved that we can score goals this season. I think we’re the first team in the league to 50 goals, so we’re more than capable.
“We created a lot of chances against Barcelona. We’ve given ourselves an uphill task but, in terms of me being confident enough to say that we can achieve it, yes. Is it going to be difficult? Of course. But for sure we’ll be going for it.”
City missed a penalty in the first leg, and Taylor continued: “When we looked at stats, outside of it being a 3-0 game, the stats suggested that it was close. Close in terms of chances, close in terms of expected goals. And that gives us perspective.
“We’re not daft. We know the game’s played in both boxes and we need to make sure we don’t give anything away and we need to make sure we take our chances. That’s going to have to be key.
“We’re fairly calm in terms of, if we don’t score in the first 25 minutes, there’s still an opportunity. This team has proved they can score goals in quick succession. We need a lot of elements to go our way but we’ll be trying our best and we’re definitely going to be going for it.”
City will again be without captain Steph Houghton, who is expected to be out for another couple of weeks with an Achilles problem, and Demi Stokes.
Stokes has been included in England’s squad for matches against France and Canada next month but Houghton misses out on that, too.