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Beard’s pride as City Women prepare for final-day showdown

Proud City Women Manager Matt Beard says his side must “embrace” the occasion and “give the best version” of themselves in their final-day battle to stay in the Barclays FAWSL.

🎥  Beard previews season finale

City travel to Brighton & Hove Albion this Sunday (May 9th, 2.30pm KO) in a must-win game, while relying on Aston Villa to drop points, who are away to Arsenal.

Beard discussed how his players are focused ahead of Sunday and he revealed his pride with how the team have competed to give themselves a chance of keeping their top-tier status.

Beard said: “We know what we need to do on the day and then hope that other results go our way. If you’d have said to me when I arrived in January that it would go down to the last game of the season, I would have snapped your hand off due to the position we were in.

“The extra games we played, the number of points we were off the likes of Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Ham and I’ve said to the girls that nobody expected us to take it to the last day.

“We need to embrace that, we need to go to Brighton with no fear, give the best version of ourselves and hope that’s enough.”

Of course, there is pressure with the next 90 minutes of football set to determine whether it will be WSL or Championship football for City Women next season, but Beard says his players “know the situation” and “what we need to do on the day.”

“All we can do is prepare as best as we can,” he explained. “All we can do is make sure we understand our roles and responsibilities and what’s needed on the day. We need one last big push and performance and whatever goes on, I’m proud of the group since I’ve been here and I’m proud they’ve put us in this position.”

But there is also pressure on Aston Villa, who will be keeping an eye on City’s final-day action while trying to ensure they can get a result at Arsenal.

Beard said: “I’d much rather be in our position than Aston Villa’s, if you look at their opponent in Arsenal [and it’s] Joe’s (Montemurro) last game.

“Brighton are in great form and it was a close encounter in the FA Cup game. The referee’s decision separated us that day, but we can take heart from the performance against Manchester United last Sunday. I still can’t believe we didn’t get anything from that game, but we have to take the confidence from how well we played into Sunday and hope we find Brighton having an off day and we have a good day.”

He added: “We need to draw on everything we’ve been through together and put it into one last performance.”

Supporters can watch all of the action from the last day of the 20/21 Barclays FAWSL season live on the FA Player App.

Watch here


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