“I quite like playing the same team in quick succession, it gives you a really good yardstick of where we’re at. Hopefully, we can put in a similar performance because we were top class in the home game.”
That is the verdict of Manchester City Women manager Gareth Taylor, who is preparing the Blues for a second meeting with rivals Manchester United in as many weeks.
City were victorious in the Women’s Super League two weeks ago thanks to another Caroline Weir wonder strike that kept their hopes of beating United to a Champions League place alive. Reds boss Marc Skinner promised more aggression in individual battles for this cup clash that represents an early chance to put that defeat right.
“We’re disappointed in not taking one-versus-ones more aggressively and being on the front foot,” Skinner said after the defeat at City, promising more of that aggression in this weekend’s clash in the FA Cup.
“They did not want it more, they won a few more second balls. They were helped a bit by referees by a bit of unfair bias but that’s not a reflection on the result.”
After an international break, the teams now reconvene and renew acquaintances, this time at United’s home Leigh Sports Village.
“I actually quite like these moments because you get to spend some quality individual time with players,” Skinner said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit of a blessing to have an international week where you can really focus on certain players and their growth.”
“It’s been great, and the players’ energy has been great [too]”.
That positive approach from United will not surprise Taylor, who says this fourth-round meeting would be better suited to the latter stages of the competition.
“We know the stakes are high in these games. If we’re honest, this is a quarter-final or semi-final kind of game in terms of the magnitude of it. It’s come a little bit early,” he said, p[redictingamuchimprovedUnitedsidemotivatedbythechanceofearlyretribution[redictingamuchimprovedUnitedsidemotivatedbythechanceofearlyretribution
“They always say to win the competition you need to beat the big teams along the way. For me they’ll want to strike back from the last game, it’s really important there’s no complacency that we turn up and expect to perform. We need to work really hard like we did in the last fixture with and without the ball to be really effective.
“The thing for me that was important was the win, psychologically. The players deserved it, we’ve talked about the areas to improve to make it emphatic because I think we deserved it.
“We know we’re going into a tough game on Sunday we know there’s going to be a bit of retribution from the opposition. We’ll be the same and need to make sure we control the game as we did previously. We know the hard work and effort that takes but we know we’re capable. “
While City have a 100 per cent record against United at home, the Reds are unbeaten in four at Leigh against City, with only one away win in six for City. United have never beaten City in the Women’s Super League, but have won three out of four cup meetings between the sides and will hope to improve that record on Sunday.
“Home advantage is big, you get familiar surroundings,” Taylor said when asked about the trend of home teams prevailing in the derby.
“We’ve drawn the last two league games at Leigh, unfortunately not been able to secure that victory but we’re more than capable, Our away record in the WSL is outstanding. We know we’re capable, you lose the familiarity of your own pitch and supporters.
“It’s a stadium we’re familiar with, played there a lot in the last couple of years. It’s about time we went there and got the victory and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“Every competition until we’re no longer in it, we fight and do not take anything likely. The FAC up is a special competition. It’s one we’ve been successful in and always got to the latter stages if we do not win it.It’s a record we’re proud of.
“These are great games, a Manchester derby in the cup is great and we’ll be working our hardest to get the victory.”