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‘Players can express themselves on big stage’ – Beard

Matt Beard says City Women must “express themselves” when they take on Chelsea in the FA Continental Tyres Cup Final on Sunday (March 14th, 2.30pm KO).

It will be a first-ever appearance in the final of the competition for City, which will be held at Watford’s Vicarage Road and broadcast live on BT Sport.

City are aiming to claim the trophy and deny Chelsea from retaining it following their double-winning cup and Barclays FAWSL-winning campaign in 2019/20.

Beard says his side will be the underdogs on this special occasion, but he has full belief in his players, who have put together a better run of form of late, as they prepare to stand up to the occasion.

Beard said: “We’re in a good moment. We’ve picked up seven points from five league games and we’re into a cup final so we’re in a good run of form.

“We know the challenge of Chelsea is huge with all the international players they have. It’s like playing a world’s best XI at times but it’s a cup final and anything can happen…it’s huge but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to and we’re getting better with every training session, with every game and we’re moving in the right direction. This is another opportunity for us to do that.”

Salmon netted the winner in a dramatic victory at Ashton Gate (via JMPUK)

The game will come six days after the 3-2 win over Reading in the league, a match where City showed “character and quality” to win at Ashton Gate and City’s head coach wants his players to pick up where they left off.

“It was an entertaining game,” said Beard. “When we played Chelsea in the league a couple of weeks ago I felt that [character and quality] was where we could have been better. We were also on a fantastic pitch on Monday night so that allowed us to showcase the football we can play. It will be a similar pitch at Watford so we look forward to it. We can draw on our character, the way we’ve been playing and take that into the game.

“We go into this game as the underdog, and we need to go into it expressing ourselves to give ourselves the best opportunity to get something out of the game.”

The Head Coach also explained his messaging to the group, ahead of Sunday’s showdown which will pit Beard against his former club. Beard worked as first team manager of Chelsea between 2009-2012 and is a Manager with experience, having been involved in cup finals before.

He said: “The message remains the same we have been hammering home. In your career you don’t get to play many cup Finals or win trophies and leagues. Chelsea are a team who have consistency and they have experience. From my experience, I’ll embrace it and not be overawed by the occasion.

“I’ve said to the girls it’s not about our physical or technical ability, it’s about how we mentally deal with certain situations. Chelsea will have more of the ball than us at times and it’s how we deal with that.

“Look at how we dealt with negative situations in the Reading game, we can draw a lot from that because we dealt with a lot on the night and it was great to see that side to us.”


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