Nick Cushing has urged Man City Women to respond to their Champions League exit at the earliest opportunity – against Birmingham on Wednesday night.
The Blues welcome their fellow FA Cup finalists to the Academy Stadium, having narrowly missed out on a place in the European final with a 3-2 aggregate defeat to reigning champions Lyon.
The Super League title holders have had little time to dwell on the setback though as they kick-off the new league campaign against the Solihull outfit, seeking a strong start in a bid to retain their crown.
“Let’s get the winning feeling back as soon as we can,” he stated, “starting with Wednesday’s game and then leading up to the FA Cup final at Wembley.
“We’ll be back on the training pitch on Tuesday and we’ll be fielding a strong team because the minimum requirement for us this year is to remain the dominant team domestically and make sure we are the best team in England.
“We expect a tough game against Birmingham– another one where we’ll have to show courage and composure to dominate the ball.
“That’s what we asked for in Lyon and we did that in the second half so I’ll ask the team to replicate that performance.”
Reflecting on his side’s victory at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Cushing asserted: “We made a bit of a statement.
“I’d said to the players beforehand: leave it all out there and put in a performance you will be proud of – one that is good enough to compete against the best team. We did that and I was so proud.
“I said to them after the game that it was disappointing that we hadn’t progressed and that it would feel bad because we’re used to winning but I encouraged them to take the positives and be proud because they had won in Lyon in front of 20,000 fans.
“If you look at the two games, Lyon were better in the first game and we were probably the better team in France.
“We were disappointed after the first leg and the penalty didn’t help in the first minute, plus Lyon’s experience probably told.
“We knew it was a tough ask for us to get three goals in Lyon but we wanted to go there and show we are at that level and good enough to compete with the best teams.
“We’d already achieved big things by reaching the semi-finals in our first season in the competition.
“Of course, we want to be playing in finals but I think the disappointment will wear off quickly because we’re proud and because we have games coming thick and fast.”