Man City boss Gareth Taylor not getting carried away after big win at Chelsea

Share

Khadija Shaw netted the winner.

Gareth Taylor played down the potential significance of Manchester City’s accomplishment after Khadija Shaw’s first-half strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Chelsea and draw them level on points with the Women’s Super League leaders.

Though they needed to win by at least two goals at Kingsmeadow to climb above Friday night’s opponents, City also matched the Blues’ 28-goal difference, meaning Emma Hayes’ side remain leaders solely by virtue of their 41 goals to second-placed City, who have 36.

Despite the victory dramatically increasing his side’s chances of unseating the four-time defending champions, Taylor viewed it with measured optimism, quick to emphasise what he still sees as a long road ahead with much room for improvement.

He said: “I’m really pleased, proud of the players. I thought we defended incredibly well, and we’ve got eight games to go. We’re excited about the challenge.

“It’s a big step, but that’s all it is. It’s three points and we move onto the next. It’s a big step for us, there’s no doubt about it. I think we’ve kind of gone under the radar a little bit this season.

“I think we’ve tried to play our game as much as we possibly can, but we’ve added a bit of steeliness and determination to our defending now, we’re trying to improve our set plays. The signs are good. It’s just hard work from the players.”

Shaw’s WSL-leading 14th goal came in the 14th minute of the contest at a sold-out Kingsmeadow after Chelsea skipper Erin Cuthbert gave away the ball to an impressive Jess Park, who in turn provided the striker.

The hosts thought they had a penalty when Mayra Ramirez was brought down by Alex Greenwood, who on replays appeared to clip the back of the January signing’s ankle without touching the ball, but, with no VAR, Chelsea’s shout was ultimately dismissed.

Hayes disagreed with referee Abigail Byrne’s decision, claiming Ramirez sustained a “cut all the way down and inside of her ankle”, but was more disappointed in Chelsea’s decision-making and finishing.

City’s victory snapped a 33-match unbeaten streak at Kingsmeadow, but Hayes – who will depart the Blues at the end of this season to take up her new post as head coach of the United States Women’s national team – was hardly losing sleep over the statistic.

“It’s not the sort of thing you’re going to put on my tombstone,” she joked.

“I think I’ll be remembered for the medals we get at the end of the year, and my focus is on that rather than how many fans were here, or how many wins we’ve had here. For me it’s not interesting.”

Leicester are first up for Chelsea after the international break, followed by a reunion with Taylor’s side in their Conti Cup semi-final on March 7.

While Hayes is no doubt keenly aware of how Friday’s loss affects the remainder of the WSL season, she insisted her attention rarely turns to the table itself.

She added: “It’s close. It always has been. I’ve never felt it any different way so I don’t pay attention to it. I don’t spend time looking up or down a league. It’s like wasting time.”

Man City boss Gareth Taylor not getting carried away after big win at Chelsea

Khadija Shaw netted the winner.

Gareth Taylor played down the potential significance of Manchester City’s accomplishment after Khadija Shaw’s first-half strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Chelsea and draw them level on points with the Women’s Super League leaders.

Though they needed to win by at least two goals at Kingsmeadow to climb above Friday night’s opponents, City also matched the Blues’ 28-goal difference, meaning Emma Hayes’ side remain leaders solely by virtue of their 41 goals to second-placed City, who have 36.

Despite the victory dramatically increasing his side’s chances of unseating the four-time defending champions, Taylor viewed it with measured optimism, quick to emphasise what he still sees as a long road ahead with much room for improvement.

He said: “I’m really pleased, proud of the players. I thought we defended incredibly well, and we’ve got eight games to go. We’re excited about the challenge.

“It’s a big step, but that’s all it is. It’s three points and we move onto the next. It’s a big step for us, there’s no doubt about it. I think we’ve kind of gone under the radar a little bit this season.

“I think we’ve tried to play our game as much as we possibly can, but we’ve added a bit of steeliness and determination to our defending now, we’re trying to improve our set plays. The signs are good. It’s just hard work from the players.”

Shaw’s WSL-leading 14th goal came in the 14th minute of the contest at a sold-out Kingsmeadow after Chelsea skipper Erin Cuthbert gave away the ball to an impressive Jess Park, who in turn provided the striker.

The hosts thought they had a penalty when Mayra Ramirez was brought down by Alex Greenwood, who on replays appeared to clip the back of the January signing’s ankle without touching the ball, but, with no VAR, Chelsea’s shout was ultimately dismissed.

Hayes disagreed with referee Abigail Byrne’s decision, claiming Ramirez sustained a “cut all the way down and inside of her ankle”, but was more disappointed in Chelsea’s decision-making and finishing.

City’s victory snapped a 33-match unbeaten streak at Kingsmeadow, but Hayes – who will depart the Blues at the end of this season to take up her new post as head coach of the United States Women’s national team – was hardly losing sleep over the statistic.

“It’s not the sort of thing you’re going to put on my tombstone,” she joked.

“I think I’ll be remembered for the medals we get at the end of the year, and my focus is on that rather than how many fans were here, or how many wins we’ve had here. For me it’s not interesting.”

Leicester are first up for Chelsea after the international break, followed by a reunion with Taylor’s side in their Conti Cup semi-final on March 7.

While Hayes is no doubt keenly aware of how Friday’s loss affects the remainder of the WSL season, she insisted her attention rarely turns to the table itself.

She added: “It’s close. It always has been. I’ve never felt it any different way so I don’t pay attention to it. I don’t spend time looking up or down a league. It’s like wasting time.”

MatchesLeaguesNews