The 2015/16 season was an unprecedented success for MCWFC. Under managed Nick Cushing, the team achieved the league and cup double for the first time in their history. The one trophy that did elude them was the Champions League. Losing 2-1 over two legs against Brøndby IF, the side were denied the chance for a treble but this season the scoreline was reversed and now City are into the quarter finals.
The wonder goal from Toni Duggan made a final in Cardiff a very real possibility for the Manchester side but with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG left in the tournament, it is by no means a done deal. However, during the break City have strengthened since their round of 16 exit. The reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd has joined and the transfer sent out a signal of intent. Manchester City Women, like their male counterparts, are an ambitious team and are not going to settle for a trophy double.
Lloyd, a player with two Olympic golds and a World Cup medal to her name is on a short term contract but will be available for City’s European adventure and the club will be hoping a player as talented and experienced as Lloyd is the final piece of the puzzle. Naysayers could argue that at 34 Lloyd has peaked in her ability but it is not a sentiment that she herself shares.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that with the facilities here, the team and with Nick [Cushing], that I will improve. I know I’ll be a better player for the couple of months I’m out here.” - Lloyd speaking to mancity.com
In that interview, she mentions that no American has ever won the Champions League and makes no attempt to hide it is a goal that she strives for. The opportunity to play in the competition was one of the main reasons she opted to swap Houston for Manchester. “The Champions League was the big topic when Nick reached out.” That ambition is shared within the squad and club captain Steph Houghton, who is in her third year with the club having swapped Arsenal for City, spoke recently about the topic.
“We want to be the best we can be in Europe and we’ve given a really good account of ourselves so far in the competition.” - Steph Houghton
Lloyd recently made her City debut in the 1-0 FA Cup win over Reading and is in line to feature in the Champions League game on Thursday against Fortuna Hjorring. The Reading win was there first competitive game of the season for the squad after a difficult pre-season. A 4-1 away loss at 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and a 1-2 loss at home to Frankfurt would’ve made some fans nervous of the important games on the horizon but an 82nd minute goal from Lucy Bronze earned City a place in the next round
. The game also saw a penalty save from Reading keeper Mary Earps who then let the ball slip through her fingers in the closing stages for the opening goal.
Manager Cushing will be hoping it’s a double qualification in the cups as City head to Fortuna Hjørring on Thursday night.