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FA Cup has never lost its magic – Gareth Taylor

Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City side face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)
Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City side face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor believes the FA Cup is “still a special competition” as his side prepare to face Chelsea in the final on Sunday.

This weekend sees an FA Cup double-header at Wembley, with the men’s final between Chelsea and Liverpool taking place on Saturday.

Speaking in a press conference, Taylor hailed the magic of the cup and how much of a special occasion it still is.

He said: “I think the FA Cup is still a special competition for players, for coaches, for supporters.

“I think previously in both the male and female game that was probably more important a few years ago, now it’s shifted slightly with European competitions becoming more potentially lucrative.

“I think increasing the purse for all the teams that enter the FA Cup is massive in the women’s game now, but I think us coaches and people associated with the FA Cup – players, staff – it’s never lost its magic.

“I think it’s a great competition, it’s a competition I remember playing in as a player – having some success in, not so much in other times – being the underdog or being the favourite and what that brings, I think it’s a really special competition.”

Taylor’s side have been on a remarkable run of form recently, winning 21 of their last 23 games in all competitions including their last 13, which helped them secure a third-placed finish in the WSL.

Despite City’s sparkling form, Chelsea are also coming into the final in good nick and are aiming to win their second trophy in a week after being crowned WSL champions last Sunday.

Taylor said: “I think we’re going into the game in form, but you have to say Chelsea have been in decent form as well, they finished the season off well.

“I think sometimes it can have a relevance to the game with the rhythm and the tempo that we look for, but it’s a one-off game and it’s about who manages that game well enough on the day, who plays the game and not so much the occasion I think is a big one.

“We’ve been there before, we’ve been in cup finals a lot of the time, but so have Chelsea so there’s no real kind of edge for either team.

“It’s just the ones who go out best and perform on the day who are the ones who are likely to take the trophy home.”

City have already beaten Emma Hayes’ side in a cup final this year, lifting the Continental Cup in March after winning 3-1, and Taylor admitted the victory had put City “into a confident place”.

Chelsea v Manchester City – The FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup – Final – Cherry Red Records Stadium
City were crowned Continental Cup victors after beating Chelsea in March (Adam Davy/PA)

“That [Conti Cup win] was a couple of months ago and it was a game where the girls were amazing,” he added.

“It really put us into a confident place where we followed that through with consecutive wins all the way through to the final game of the season, which was amazing and full credit to the players.

“We want to go and win another trophy, it’s a trophy we’ve been successful in recently, but I think regardless of what happens Sunday, we’re really proud of the way we’ve left the season and I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

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