Nick Cushing believes Man City Women can learn a lot from their Champions League semi-final defeat to Lyon.
The Blues lost 3-1 at the Academy Stadium in the first leg tie, thanks to goals from Saki Kumagai, Dzsenifer Maroszan and Eugenie Le Sommer.
Cushing had predicted a difficult test against the European champions but expressed pride for his side’s performance.
“We expected a tough game,” he reflected. “We never expected it to be easy. We knew they would have a lot of the ball but for long parts, we contained them.
“The hard part for us is that we usually dominate the ball but we knew we were coming up against a different opponent – a top team – and we respected that.
“We don’t lose often – especially at home – so it isn’t a feeling we’re used to.
“We know we can be so much better without the ball. Lyon had a lot of it because we didn’t retain it as well as we normally do.
“I knew experience would be important. I’m not saying that our players are inexperienced and wouldn’t be able to perform but that the opposition have so much that throughout – no matter what the feel of the game – they would be able to survive the periods where we had counter-attacked and would keep their composure.”
Asked of lessons learned about the level his side are at, Cushing explained: “We’re not far away and Lyon aren’t invincible.
“We’re as good and we can cause them problems. We highlighted where they were weak and we exploited them when we kept the ball and recognised that we could hit them early.
“We created chances but the game showed that if your level – with and without the ball – is not at its highest, the best teams will exploit it because of their experience.
“We’d spoken about trying to start quickly and putting Lyon into a game where they would have to work hard and get their level really high.
“The early penalty knocked the wind out of us a little bit but I was proud that we got ourselves back in the game and carried on playing.
“Then they scored two goals and we’ll have to look at why.
“It highlights that we have to be at the top of our game in Champions League semi-finals. We know we have so much more to give.”
Cushing echoed goalscorer Kosovare Asllani’s sentiments that City must not give up hope of progression.
“It’s definitely not over,” he stated. “We can grow from that experience. We have to for all of the big games coming up.
“We’ll look at the game and areas tactically where we could adjust but that game shows me that we knew they would have a lot of the ball, meaning we would have to play a style we haven’t played in a long time.
“They’re a good team with real strength in depth. We need to show courage, be better with the ball and enjoy the game.”