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Added 16th May 2017, 14:21 in

SSE WOMEN'S CUP FINAL: Players' Reaction

At Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, Manchester City finally got their hands on the much coveted FA Women’s Cup with a 4-1 victory over Birmingham City. CATHERINE ETOE reports with the views from the Mixed Zone...

Three first half goals in the space of 14 minutes from Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen and FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd proved to be the undoing of Marc Skinners’ side and though youngster Charlie Wellings pulled a goal back for Blues in the second half, Jill Scott killed off any hopes of a comeback with a fourth for City 10 minutes from time. Here’s what some of the key players had to say about the match afterwards...

Manchester City skipper STEPH HOUGHTON (lifts the trophy, above, PA PHOTOS).

On the victory:

“It’s always special to be part of FA Cup Finals and I’ve been fortunate to be part of four and it’s my first for Manchester City and to be able to lead this team out and to win the FA Cup with this club, it’s one we’ve been desperate to get and we’ve finally done it.”


On playing at Wembley:

“It’s an amazing stadium, the best in England and to have a fantastic crowd of over 35,000 – it’s great for the women’s game to see that. It’s important that we keep growing the sport and no better place to do it than at Wembley Stadium.”


On how it felt to lead the team out:

“You get goosebumps when you’re playing these big games, that’s what it’s all about, you realise that all the hard days of training and being away from your family are all worth it when it comes to this and they’re all sitting in the stands watching you and proud of you playing so, yeah, it’s a great feeling.”


On being the club to beat:

“Look, it’s up to us to make sure that every team looks at us and wants to beat us and we’ve got to keep improving. We’ve won every domestic trophy as it stands now and we need to try and maintain that and take it one step further into the Champions League. The aim of this football club is to continue to win and over the last two seasons especially, we’ve improved our winning mentality and we know how to win games.”


Manchester City goalscorer LUCY BRONZE (seen heading the opener, above. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On the game:

“That’s the way our games have gone against Birmingham, we’ve created so many chances but let them back in the game, whereas today, we really dominated the goal and took it to them.”


On whether the size of the pitch made a difference:

“Not a lot. We’ve played at Port Vale, the widest pitch in England. It’s what we like to do, we like to play expansive football, get high and wide, not just myself but Demi and Nikita, all our wingers, we like to spread the play out and it worked in our favour today, we were able to pull Birmingham apart a little bit and I don’t think they could handle the size of the pitch as well as we could.”


On whether other teams can match City:

“Of course, only two weeks ago we drew with Birmingham at home, that was a tight game, so we’re not completely flying away with anything. We are winning games and trophies and I think we’ve got a good winning mentality, we know how to win and that’s a good trait to have. But we inched past Liverpool 1-0, inched past Reading 3-2 and were losing at one point so, I think a lot of teams are in and around but we just have the edge at the minute.”


On how the victory ranks in her career:

“Pretty high. To score at Wembley and win the FA Cup. You know, this is only my second Final, my last was [with Sunderland against Arsenal] eight years ago so I know they don’t come around too easily so to take home the trophy that’s been missing out of the cabinet is really special and I’m delighted.”


On what has changed in the game since her last Final:

“Back then Rachel Yankey was the superstar and I was the little kid who was meant to be marking her so a lot of things have changed since then. Women’s football is on the rise, attendances are on the rise, the quality is getting better and better, the England team is better and better and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”

On what’s next:

“Go back to the club and work hard. The Euros is a big goal but the Spring Series comes first, we’ve got a good number of games to get us fighting fit for the Euros and we want to win those games and go to the Euros in the best shape possible and that’s all England players, not just the City players.”


Manchester City goalscorer CARLI LLOYD (with her famous kneeslide celebration, above. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On City’s explosive start to the match:

“We were really motivated. We played Birmingham recently and weren’t happy with the result and didn’t play that great and we knew this was a Final and we had to come out, get an early lead and step up so it was a good way to start. A great goal by Lucy [Bronze] and another great ball by Megan.”

On her goal:

“It was a corner kick that was rehearsed in training and Megan Campbell whipped in a phenomenal leftie and I had my eye on it the whole time. I screamed for it, I think Steph [Houghton] ducked because she heard somebody screaming really loudly and I just attacked the goal and went for it and it was in the back of the net.”

On how it felt to score at Wembley again:

“It’s really special. Obviously the 2012 Olympics is near and dear to my heart, winning a gold medal and scoring two goals against Japan, so to be able to come back here, I’m two for two. I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be back here again but it’s one of my favourite stadiums to play in.”

On repeating her knee slide goal celebration of London 2012:

“It was definitely a moment in my career and life where I started to believe that I could become one of the best players in the world and now here I am five years later playing back at Wembley. My knee slide is probably one of my favourite celebrations, obviously I couldn’t do that in the 2015 World Cup [on the artificial turf] but I did my celebration on the opposite side [in 2012] and thought it was fitting to run and do another slide in celebration.”


On where the victory ranks in her career:

“It’s a Final, it’s something I knew making the decision to come here that I could be part of an FA Cup Final and potentially win one and for me it’s what I’m all about, I step it up extra levels for Finals and I want to win as many things as I can so, to be a part of this, and play a small part in that victory feels pretty good.”


On why she shows up with goals on the big stage:

“It’s preparation, I don’t ever switch off, my life is consumed around training. When I wake up it’s ‘when am I training?’ and that’s all that matters, but the biggest thing is the mentality, I pride myself on focusing, not letting outside distractions get in my way.”


On life at Manchester City:

“It’s been fantastic, it’s definitely helped me improve. The organisation has been phenomenal, they really pride themselves on focusing on the women and the girls have been fantastic, it’s been really good. I’ve been soaking it all up, staying at the facility for seven or eight hours doing extra stuff and really taking advantage of it.”

Manchester City goalscorer IZZY CHRISTIANSEN (right. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On her goal and winning the FA Cup:

“I like arriving late in the box and Lucy has put in a great ball and I’ve just timed it perfectly and stuck it in the top bin so I’m delighted. It’s the [trophy] we’ve wanted now for four years domestically, we’ve grown a lot during the competition since the formation of Manchester City women, we’ve learnt a lot on the way, we’ve lost in semi-finals and now to get to the Final and get our hands on the trophy is the best feeling ever.”


On what it means to Nick Cushing, manager:

“As much to him as it does to everybody and he deserves it just as much as the players, he puts in a lot of work and we’re delighted for him.”


On whether winning away to Lyon in the Champions League helped:

“Yes, it translates itself well. We played in a big stadium in front of a hostile crowd over in France and it’s only going to grow you as a player, playing in tough conditions against a very good footballing team that’s got world class players all over the park, so yeah you’ve got to grow from those experiences.”

On seeing her former team Birmingham in the Final:

“Delighted. I had a great time at Birmingham and it’s an amazing achievement that they got to the Final, beating the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea and there’s no doubt that they will go on and get to Finals. They’re a fantastic team and Marc [Skinner] has got them very well drilled, great footballing team and a great bunch of girls.”


Manchester City defender DEMI STOKES (with her team mates and the trophy, above. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On winning the FA Cup:

“Amazing, it’s been a long time I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the FA Cup, obviously the last time [she reached the Final] was with Sunderland in ‘09 and it feels good. It was an amazing experience, you want to get to these kind of stadiums as an athlete so yeah, it’s a great day.”

On what is next for Man City:

“It’s nice to get a trophy early, but we’ve got to keep pushing so now the aim is to go and win the Spring Series to set us up for the league. Everyone is going to want to come and beat us and that’s fine, we just know we have to be ready.”


Birmingham City’s PFA Young Player of the Year JESS CARTER (left. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On the game:

“They turned up on the day and we didn’t in the first half and they took their chances and we didn’t do that. In general, we always give them a good game, in the second half we came out fighting but by that stage the damage had been done. But I know that we can be a better team and on our day we are a better team.  We’ll work hard and we’ll come back and prove that.”

On what was said at half time:

“We got a bit of a kick up the bum from our own players as well as our manager, we just needed to show a bit more desire, we said what we needed to say about the first half and knew we needed to be better on and off the ball and thought how we could be better for the second half and I think we were but obviously by that point it was a bit too late.”


On pulling a goal back:

“You don’t stop until that final whistle goes and we got the goal back and thought we had a bit of momentum and were going to grab another goal but the fourth goal killed it off really, but it’s a young team and we’ll learn from this result and we’ll come back and do better and hopefully we’ll be here this time next year.”


On whether they gave City too much respect:

“I don’t think it comes down to respect; we don’t fear Man City. Yeah, they have some great players but we have some very good players as well who will be better than their players when we’re older but some of us are 17, 18, 19, they’re 23, 24, 25.  I don’t think it’s down to respect, they were better on the day.”

Birmingham City goalscorer CHARLIE WELLINGS (centre, above. Image: RICHARD CLAYPOLE).

On scoring at Wembley:

“It’s got to be up there hasn’t it, probably right up the top. I was very happy to score but I thought that we’d have made the most of it and put more pressure on Man City. But we created chances, we’ve just got to start taking them.”

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