Manchester City Manager Nick Cushing spoke candidly after the match stating that his sides 1-0 defeat at a home to Arsenal was due to player fatigue and the hectic schedule they’d faced in 2017.
“I thought it was probably too quick a turnaround after a really difficult game against Chelsea [on Thursday]; the previous games and probably the last 12 weeks has caught up with us. We’ve caused that ourselves by being so successful. A little bit off today as a whole.”
City fell to a first home league defeat in more than 2 years but Cushing remained positive about the performance; “The attitude and application. When the tank is empty you have to rely on heart, desire and a real will to want to win. I think the players went down to the end and could have fallen apart because they were so tired but in the end unlucky not to nick a draw.”
“I think maybe if we’d have had a seven day break and a normal schedule then we look for logical reasons as to why we might have lost. I think its as simple as, when, collectively everyone is a little bit off and missing tackles and we’re technically a bit inconsistent.”
“Once we went 1-0 down we got another 5% [from the players] purely because they didn’t want to lose.”
However the City manager refused to concede defeat in the challenge for the Spring Series but did admit that Chelsea were now favourites: “I think it means [the title race] will go down to the wire. We always plan to win, so if we win our last two games it will go down to goal difference, which Chelsea will as well, I think they will win it on goal difference.”
Asked if he felt that the WSL Spring Series had prepared the England squad well enough for the European Championships in June Cushing answered: “It’s hard to play a tournament before going into a tournament. They’ve played tournament football playing every three days. They need a big break now before going into the Euro’s”
“I would be worried if I was the [England] manager and there were nine players that play for Manchester City that are very very tired and we’ve two more games.
“We will do all we can [to prepare the players for the Euro’s], we did it with Karen Bardsley today, we’ll offload some more of the players this week because we want them to do well for England. We will play our part in trying to give England the best chance.”
Cushing revealed the long term plan had been to rest England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley ahead of the tournament; “Karen was rested. We’d always planned at the end of the Spring Series to rest Karen because of the Euro’s. We want her to go in, she’s England’s number one, fresh and mentally ready. Its the same for Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton, if we get the opportunity in the next six days we will try and give them rest.”
City finished the Spring Series with two away games this coming week when they face a trip to Sunderland in mid-week before they finish off with a visit to Liverpool on Saturday. Cushing confirmed that he will rotate his side; “We’ll have to rotate the squad a little bit and hope the players do the right things away from training. I think defeat is possible the best motivator for us and the players will want to put that right.”
“The WSL is really competitive and we know its hard to beat every time; you have to be at your best. We’ve just gone a year and a half at our best and we’ll still be at our best but one thing we have to do is try and get the best physical team on the pitch. There’s no shame in being tired. We’ve caused it ourselves by being so successful and trying to win every game. We’ve never hid the fact we want to win the Spring Series and if we don’t that will just propel us to work harder in the summer.”