Gareth Taylor is not interested in Manchester City making “a statement” against Chelsea in the Women’s FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and simply wants a win.
The two Women’s Super League heavyweights clash for a place in the final of last season’s competition, which was affected by the coronavirus pandemic and is being finished during the first half of the current campaign.
City missed out on the title as they finished two points behind Chelsea in May but have since had a huge collapse in form – largely due to injuries – and have lost three times in the division while they failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages.
Looking ahead to the last-four tie with Emma Hayes’ side, Taylor told a press conference: “We just need to win, simple as that.
“I don’t think it would be a statement. In a semi-final, we want to be in the final and we’ll do everything in our capacity to do that.
“We understand where we are at with injuries. We have some players who are unavailable for crazy reasons but we’re making the best of it and it’s about winning.”
The holders, who beat Everton at an empty Wembley last November, remain without goalkeepers Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley while fellow England internationals Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze are sidelined.
A host of other key players have also been absent but Taylor remains defiant and was buoyed by a 5-1 thrashing of Everton in the Continental Cup plus a battling draw away to rivals Manchester United earlier in the month.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has no interest in City’s current woes and is braced for a stern examination against a side that will benefit from playing at their Academy Stadium home.
She insisted: “When it gets to a semi-final, I don’t care who the opponent is, it’s a leveller because every single player, no matter what club they play for, know they are one step from a final.
“It’s a huge opportunity and one that anything can happen. It’s so different to a league game, why I don’t know. There tends to be a little more drama, a little more nervous energy in teams but that’s because there is something at stake.”
Arsenal and Brighton take part in the other last-four clash on Sunday but there will be a notable absentee in the Gunners’ ranks.
Boss Jonas Eidevall confirmed on Friday the all-time WSL leading goalscorer Vivianne Miedema would not be involved at Meadow Park as she has been given time off following a busy summer where she competed in Tokyo at the 2020 Olympics.
Miedema was also rested for Holland’s midweek clash with Belarus after talks between the two management teams.
“We need to give Viv a rest sometimes if we want the best version of her,” Eidevall said, as quoted by the Guardian.
“This was the time to do it. I’m really pleased with the Netherlands’ decision and I think it will benefit them, Viv and us in the long run.”
Arsenal are not short of attacking options and will be favourites to beat divisional rivals Brighton.
Seagulls boss Hope Powell, a two-time winner as a player, said: “We have more to gain than we have to lose and that takes the pressure off and I’d argue puts a bit on Arsenal.
“The pressure is on Arsenal, the expectation is on them to win. We go in to enjoy it and try to win, why not?”
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