Friday 23 February 2018

Nadia relishing pressure of title decider

Nadia Nadim is relishing the prospect of following up Manchester City’s first defeat of the season with a game she says is, without doubt, a title decider.

Saturday’s clash with Chelsea was already one of the biggest games of the season, but having lost 2-0 to Birmingham in midweek and with it first place in the WSL, Nadim admits the pressure has been cranked up a notch ahead of the meeting between England’s top two teams.

Introduced in the 64th minute in the Midlands, the Danish forward had no complaints about the result on a night City struggled to create any meaningful chances.

It was a shock defeat for a side who had not lost since May, but Nadim is expecting a response.

“It’s a wake-up call as to what it takes to win games,” she declared. “Before a big game like Saturday, that’s a good thing because it doesn’t just happen by itself.

“There’s pressure, there always is and if we lose we’re four points behind them.

“I love that. You either make it or lose everything and the rest of the team are the same.

“We want to play in games where there is maximum pressure. I’d rather that than games without pressure when you win comfortably.”

While City failed to produce in Birmingham, Chelsea were beating Yeovil 2-0 to take a one-point lead at the WSL summit.

That leaves the two clubs seven and eight points ahead of third placed Liverpool and so far, there’s been little between the two title contenders.

Nadim scored the only goal of the game as City knocked the West London outfit out of the Continental Tyres Cup in January, before a goalless draw in the league at the start of the month.

Perhaps there could be better ways to bounce back from your first defeat, then?

No chance.

City’s No.10 believes the challenge posed by a Chelsea side undoubtedly high in confidence is the perfect scenario for City to prove their mettle.

“It’s 100% a title decider,” she said. “But there’s no fear.

“Chelsea will be motivated because we’ve given them a chance and I’m looking forward to that.

“I want them to play their best because we’ll be doing our best to beat them.

“There’s so much at stake at this point, so it’s going to be a great game.

“It’s football, you can lose, but I just want to be able to leave everything I have on the field because usually when you do that, you get three points.”

Off the pitch, the inspirational Nadim has received individual recognition once again, nominated for two prestigious Danish awards - the best female player and the ‘En del af noget større’ (‘A part of something bigger’).

The forward spoke of her pride.

“I won it last year so it’s an amazing honour to be nominated again," she declared. "It’s big and I really want to win it.

“The entire team did great during the Euros, so I’m just happy that I’ve been considered worthy to be named player of the year again.

“If I win it, I’ll be the first Danish player to have won the award two years in a row. That would be awesome.”

To vote for Nadia, visit www.dbu.dk/dfa/stem/aaretskvindeligespiller and www.dbu.dk/dfa/stem/edans.

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