FA CUP | Nick Cushing – “It was a good performance in the end.”

On the game: “I think credit to Watford as they were really resolute and defended really well. At times they had eleven behind the ball and sat really deep. We can be a lot more clinical in front of goal and we could get ahead earlier but I think thats a consequence of playing players who’ve not had a lot of minutes and it takes a bit of time to get your rhythm back. It was a good performance in the end.”

“I think when you saw when we put Tessa Wullaert and Nikita Parris on the speed of play and risks they were taking went up. They are all in form and really confident. The likes of Mel Lawley, Jess Parks, Pauline Bremer and Claire Emslie haven’t played a lot of football more recently because of the performances that we’ve had. So we expected their to be a dip in the performance although we push them hard and to set the standard. I thought they were trying hard and trying to do the right things.”

On squad rotation: “We rested Jen Beattie, Jill Scott completely and Caroline Weir was on the bench but she didn’t even have a kit on because we didn’t want to use her.” “The aim for Nikita Parris was to get half an hour in and hopefully get a goal. As a striker you want to do just that and two more goals she’s going into the Chelsea game on fire, she’s in form and full of confidence.”

“It was always planned that Megan [Campbell] was going to play.” “That puts her in the squad now and up for selection for the Chelsea game. To have Megan back is like having a new signing.”

On the Chelsea game: “Its just a game in the sense that its a big game, and an important game, but we’ve done it so often that it’ll be the [best] team on the day [that determines the result]. If you look at last year we beat them in the Continental Cup semi-final and they beat us in the FA Cup semi-final, both at Kingsmeadow. The year before we played them in the FA Cup semi final and the year before. We’ve played so much and last year we played them in the league in an evening game at Kingsmeadow.” 

“Chelsea away will be like our second home.  We will respect them, they’re a great team and if you look at what they’ve achieved and what Emma [Hayes] has achieved with that team. They are an incredible team whether they’ve lost form or games this season we will not be taking them lightly. It will be a good game and one we’re really looking forward to.”

On Esme Morgan and Jess Park; “Our strategy, as we did with the likes of Keira Walsh, Abbie McManus and Georgia Stanway, they were given these games to get to the level where they are now. We will give Jess Parks games, she’s now played 3 games in the Continental Cup and this FA Cup game.  Esme’s played five league games plus the Continental Cup and this FA Cup game. I suppose we give them games and its over to them. We’ve been really lucky with the likes of Stanway, Walsh, McManus and Parris who as young players have developed into top-top players with our help. We hope that Esme and Jess do that as well.”

On the FA Cup draw: “I’d loved a home draw. Last year it was because we wanted to stabilise the travel but this year we just enjoyed playing here. If you look at our record we’ve lost just five games of football here so we will always because ourselves to play well and win football games here.”

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