Friday 21 April 2017

Parris: You dream of playing in these games

Nikita Parris is counting down the minutes to Man City Women’s Champions League semi-final clash with Lyon.

Nick Cushing’s side face the three-time European champions over two legs in their first season in the competition, kicking off with Saturday’s home tie at the Academy Stadium.

Parris, who helped the Blues to a league and cup double last season, is proud of her side’s achievements but insists they will not be satisfied with a last four finish.

She declared: “You dream of playing in the likes of these finals – FA Cup finals, Champions League finals…

“It’s what it’s all about. When you look back at your career, you ask: ‘What trophies have I won? What medals have I got?’

“Hopefully, when I look back, I’ll say I’ve won the Champions League, the FA Cup, the Continental Tyres Cup, the league - and not just one! Hopefully we can repeat our success over many years.

“I feel like every game has been a high point, Obviously, it’s our first season in the Champions League and we’ve been very successful in getting to the semi-finals against Lyon on Saturday.

“No matter what happens in that game, we’ve reached the semi-finals. Hopefully we’ll beat them and get to the final but regardless, it’s been a great experience for City.”

With Lyon’s experience and impressive record in the competition, City head into the encounter as underdogs.

Parris asserts however that fact will not affect the Blues.

“The underdog mentality doesn’t harm you,” she stated. “We’ll go into the game confident off the back of last year.

“Winning two trophies and going unbeaten in the league is massive for us and Lyon will know that. We are a threat, we’ve got some world-class players and we’ll compete well with them.

“We take every game as it comes and hopefully, win. We always set out to win games – we want to win – so we go into every one with that mindset and see what that it brings.

“We play our game, we’re confident and as long as each player brings what they know to the best of their ability, we’ll be comfortable.

“Our aspirations are to be the best versions of ourselves we can be but also to be the best player in the world.

“If you don’t want to compete for that you’ll never reach the levels you’ll want to get to.”

City have received support from all over the country, with other Clubs and fans sending messages of good wishes.

The Blues smashed their Champions League attendance record in the quarter-final home tie against Fortuna Hjorring with 2,152 in the stands. Pep Guardiola was amongst them and Parris spoke of his admiration for the Women’s side.

“There’s a massive connection,” she explained. “Only yesterday, I was out on the pitch doing extra shooting practice and he was out there.

“He came over and spoke to us. The connection between the men and the women in this team is a dream.

“It’s not just Pep – it’s the players as well – which is fantastic for us.”

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