Saturday 14 April 2018

Houghton excited for crunch period

City skipper Steph Houghton believes that the FA Cup semi-final is one of the biggest and toughest games of the season.

As Nick Cushing’s side prepare to face Chelsea Ladies away at the Kingsmeadow on Sunday 15 April, kick-off 3.30pm, the Blues captain has shared her thoughts on the clash.

With fond FA Cup memories, Houghton has stated that the squad have their eyes firmly set on making it to Wembley for the final.

“The FA Cup is a huge trophy for us,” the centre-back told ManCity.com. “We’re the holders and we have some great memories of that day last year.

“Wembley Stadium is a stadium you want to play football at so the incentive is there.

“Games don’t come much bigger or tougher than the semi-finals of an FA Cup, especially away from home.”

Sunday will mark our fourth encounter with the London side this season – three of which will have been away from home – and the City captain believes it’s time for a victory.

“We have to respect Chelsea but play the way we normally do, keeping the ball, controlling the game; then, hopefully, the result will go right for us,” Steph added.

“We’ve played them twice this season at Kingsmeadow, winning one and drawing one.

“We’ve ground out some crucial draws against them recently. Now, we hope it’s time for a win – that’s obviously the aim.”

The Blues are still alive in three competitions, reaching the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League while the Women’s Super League title still in sight.

A majority of the City squad have just returned from a two-week stint with their international sides, and Houghton has explained that the determination still sits strong among Nick Cushing’s side.

“When you get towards the end of the season, you want to be in with a chance of winning trophies,” Steph said. “That’s certainly the period we’re at, at the moment.

“There are a lot of people judging us on recent performances and results – and rightly so – but at the same time, as a group, we know how strong we are and the talent we have got in the pool of players we have.

“Just going off the training sessions since the international break, you can see the determination.

“It’s been a chance to show the manager we’re ready to play for City and that we’re committed to the cause.

“It will take a lot of hard work but hopefully, the team can come together and get the win on Sunday.”

You can follow Sunday's FA Cup game on our official matchday commentary Twitter channel: @ManCityWomen, for live updates throughout the game!

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