A few weeks ago, Gareth Taylor’s sanity would have been in question had the Manchester City manager suggested his side could still win the Women’s Super League title.
At the end of last year there was still a feeling that the former City Under-18 manager was on borrowed time but, suddenly, no one is underestimating Taylor when he talks about stealing Chelsea’s crown .
“We want to win the league,” Taylor said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa. “We just have to stay in the hunt.”
City finished second behind Chelsea last season, but their start to the new campaign has been disrupted by injuries to key players, several of whom went to the Tokyo Olympics.
When Taylor’s side lost four of their first 10 games he looked set to exit, but the recent return to form of his England defenders Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton after long-term knee and ankle problems respectively transformed the landscape of City.
Last Sunday they won 6-0 at previously top-flight Brighton, their third straight league victory, and they sit in fifth place, nine points behind leaders Arsenal but only four adrift of Tottenham, occupants of the third and last position in the Champions League. . “I think we’re in a good place,” Taylor said. “Confidence is high and I wouldn’t want to put limits on what we want to try to achieve. We just have to stay in the hunt. If we can do that, who knows what can happen? »
The return of Bronze and Houghton also represents good news for England as they prepare to host Euro 2022 this summer with a four-team tournament also involving Canada, Spain and Germany next month. .
Neither player has played for the Lionesses since Sarina Wiegman became manager, but Houghton is not yet thinking of reclaiming the England captaincy. “My first objective over the next few weeks is to regain my form and my confidence for Manchester City,” said the 33-year-old, who has signed an extended contract. “It’s just about playing well for City and then everything else will take care of itself.”