Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor outlines summer priorities after FA Cup final loss

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Jess Park of Manchester City warming up before the Women's FA Cup Final (Photo: Ivan Yordanov)
Jess Park of Manchester City warming up before the Women's FA Cup Final (Photo: Ivan Yordanov)

By Rachel Steinberg

Gareth Taylor insisted time, not talent, was what separated the sides after Manchester City fell 3-2 to Chelsea in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final.

City dominated much of the afternoon in front of a record 49,094 fans at Wembley, enjoying the advantage in both possession and shots on target.

But the Blues made the most of the visitors’ mistakes and, despite a last-gasp equaliser from substitute Hayley Raso, Chelsea claimed their fourth FA Cup.

Sam Kerr’s extra-time effort deflected off Alanna Kennedy for the deciding goal—with Taylor’s attention quickly turning to the off-season.

“It’s huge,” he said. “There’s always going to be player turnover, incomings and outgoings. If we can limit some of that, we’ll be in a much better place.

“The teams that operate at a decent level are ones that have less surgery in the summer. But the game’s the game, players have their ambitions or their lifestyle which may come into it.

"For us, we’re very much at the forefront of trying to secure these players. But they come and go, and we want players who want to be here.

“Working with the same people for a number of years allows you to do really good things. There’s no secret in any sport, if you’ve got a really plan, people need time to be able to implement it. A year or two years is sometimes not long enough. It’s about working with the same players as much as you can and continuing to grow.”

It was City who enjoyed more early chances as Chloe Kelly’s shot from the right was easily picked out of the air by Ann-Katrin Berger, the first time either keeper was tested.

But the Blues showed their strength at the back as City continued to test the Blues, who regained possession and played Kerr in on goal as she fired past City keeper Ellie Roebuck before being called offside.

It still appeared to fire up the Barclays FA WSL champions, Millie Bright in full control as she received a pass from Jess Carter at the corner of the box, whipping a cross to the far post for Kerr to glance it over the head of a leaping Roebuck to break the deadlock on 33 minutes.

It wasn’t long, however, before Hemp, who had caused problems for Chelsea throughout the first half, swirled around her marker and there was nothing Berger could do about her curled effort into the right corner to ensure the sides were level at the break.

Roebuck was called into action again, easily catching Guro Reiten’s cross as play resumed, but the Blues pulled ahead through Erin Cuthbert, whose powerful strike caught the underside of the crossbar and bounced in.

Both sides made late substitutions but it was Gareth Taylor’s that paid off, Raso’s fresh legs off the bench giving her the boost of speed she needed to beat Chelsea skipper Magda Eriksson to the ball and lob the leveller past Berger.

But nine minutes into added time Kerr picked up the ball in midfield and powered down the pitch, sending a low strike into the right corner that was heavily deflected off the unfortunate Alanna Kennedy to seal the double for Chelsea.

Still, Taylor maintained that his side “were excellent and showed good character, we just couldn’t get our noses in front when we had the ascendancy”, and his dressing room message was one of optimism ahead of next season.

“It’s slightly disappointing we’ve finished the last game with this feeling but I think we really need to take a step back on what we did and how we did it, the way we conducted ourselves throughout was spot on," he said.

"I said to the players ‘be disappointed, but also be really proud’ and that’s the overriding feeling I have today, one of pride.”

To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com

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