Man City warned they are not through yet ahead of second leg against Fiorentina

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Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor has stressed “no tie is ever over after the first game” ahead of Thursday’s Women’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Fiorentina.

City head into the contest in Florence with a 3-0 lead from the first leg last week, thanks to early finishes by Lauren Hemp and Ellen White and a late Sam Mewis header.

Taylor told a virtual press conference: “It was an important goal, the third goal. People always talk about breathing space. But I’ve always said that no tie is ever over after the first game.

“You’ve still got to go out and do a professional job and make sure you give yourself the best possible chance. No matter who I pick tomorrow, we’ll make sure that happens.”

He added: “Sometimes when you’ve got nothing to lose you can see a team come out and be a little bit braver. They could come out and really go for it, so we need to be alive and aware of that and I’m sure we will be.”

After two runs to the semi-finals of the Champions League, City exited in the last 32 in 2019 and the last 16 in 2020, both times being eliminated by Atletico Madrid.

Sam Mewis heads home Manchester City's third goal
Sam Mewis heads home Manchester City’s third goal (Martin Rickett/PA)

And the 48-year-old, who was appointed as successor to Nick Cushing in May last year, said at Wednesday’s press conference: “I’m not sure if it (success in the Champions League this season) is imperative, but we’ve had a couple of probably slight failures in the last couple of seasons, going out in the earlier rounds.

“I think to get into the quarter-finals, that’s progress, but of course, if we’re able to do that then we want to look further, beyond.

“We’re under no illusions – we have a good squad but there’s many other good squads in this competition as well. It’s game by game, making sure we’re ready and trying to go as far as we possibly can.”

City are aiming to join Chelsea in the last eight – Emma Hayes’ side are through after a 1-1 second-leg draw against Atletico on Wednesday saw them advance 3-1 on aggregate.

When asked about Chelsea, who second-placed City are two points behind in the Women’s Super League, Taylor said: “They are a good team and I think everyone back home should be hoping that both teams can go as far as they possibly can in the competition, that’s really healthy for English teams in this competition.

“We wish them well. I think it’s great they have got through, and we’re trying to do the same.”

Chelsea saw off Atletico Madrid
Chelsea saw off Atletico Madrid (Claudio Furlan/AP)

The 20-year-old was asked about England interim boss Hege Riise being appointed as head coach of the Great Britain team for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, and Hemp said: “It’s great to see. I worked with her over the last (England) camp (in February) and I got on well with her.

“She’s really knowledgeable and she’ll definitely help the team, to hopefully go on to win the Olympic gold, and I’d love to be part of that. I can’t wait to carry on working with her. Hopefully she’ll help me improve and I know she’s a great manager to lead the girls to success.”

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