Gareth Taylor believes WSL heartbreak can be a launch pad for Man City’s future

  • Manchester City lost out on the WSL title despite final day victory over Aston Villa
  • Chelsea were confirmed champions for a fifth consecutive season after thumping Manchester United
  • Gareth Taylor hopes his side can use the heartbreak as a launch pad for the future
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor during the final game against Aston Villa
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor during the final game against Aston Villa / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor summed up the mix of emotions after his side narrowly lost out on the WSL title to Chelsea, but hopes they can use the heartbreak as a launch pad for the future.

City took care of their own business on the day, edging past Villa 2-1 at Villa Park. However, Chelsea’s 6-0 thumping of Manchester United at Old Trafford meant the goal difference was insurmountable.

Mary Fowler opened their account in the first half, before Rachel Daly produced an equaliser for the hosts in the second. A scruffy goal from Lauren Hemp late on meant City ended the season with a win, but it was a mere consolation as they fell short of the ultimate prize.

Taylor conceded they didn’t necessarily get what they deserved after an outstanding season, but has positive feelings about the future of his team.

"Absolutely [it can be a launch pad for things to come], and I already feel that way," he told the media post-match. "The determination to come back and force it to goal difference, it's tough, we won 18 games out of 22, it feels really tough on the team because you don't always get what you deserve. 

"And I felt that we deserved it. We were the most consistent team. Of course we lost some players in key moments and we don't have the strength in depth that other teams have but that's what we're working towards."

City produced 31 shots on goal across the 96 minutes played at Villa Park, 12 of which were on target. They hit the post twice through efforts from Laura Blindkilde Brown and Alanna Kennedy, while also forcing at least three fine stops from Villa goalkeeper Anna Leat.

Alex Greenwood, Alanna Kennedy
Manchester City players at full-time against Aston Villa / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Ultimately, they had the opportunities to get over the line. Poor finishing and poor decision-making in the final third was their downfall, while they would also look at the last-gasp defeat to Arsenal earlier this month as a key moment that potentially settled their fate.

The absence of Golden Boot winner Khadija Shaw was glaring. The forward’s 21 goals this term prior to her injury played a pivotal role in keeping City at the top end of the table.

City’s lack of a solid back-up to Shaw has sparked rumours linking them with a move for out-of-contract Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema. The forward’s impact was summed up in the Gunners' final game against Brighton as she scored with her first touch off the bench.

However, Taylor refused to comment on a potential move for Miedema and admitted it’s tough to replace Shaw’s contributions.

"Firstly I wouldn’t want to talk about players who are still at other clubs and we’ll give the relevant information if and when it happens," the City boss added.

"I think, of course, it’s really difficult to have two Bunny Shaws. Some of the other clubs have really top end replacements for their players, unfortunately we don’t at the moment but our forward line is still really good. 

"We just have to keep improving. You look at last season, we changed one player. One player out, one player in. 

"We lost that player [Jill Roord] in January, a world-class player, which was really difficult. Then losing Bunny with three games to go. You look at Arsenal, you look at the game today, Bristol City, and you think Bunny is going to score a lot of goals in that game, which could make the difference but these things happen. But we’ll be energised to go again."