Gareth Taylor calls on Man City WSL side to control derby against United

Out-of-form Man City are looking to beat Manchester United to restart their season in the WSL this weekend.

Gareth Taylor is under pressure and has called for a big performance from his side (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor has called on his team to deliver a high level performance in tomorrow’s derby with Manchester United.

The Citizens are out of form at the moment and could do with a morale boosting victory over their City rivals.

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It is the first meeting of the two of the season with United ahead by six points ahead of the clash at Leigh Sports Village, with spectators making a welcome return after a behind-closed-doors season.

If City are to begin their resurgence they must encapsulate the performance they delivered the last the two sides met, a 3-0 victory in February.

“These games are never won or lost in the first half – you have to be at it all the way through to the final minute. That’s what makes these games so special.

“We have to focus on this one, really make sure we pay attention to the small details and handle the game in the right manner.

“There’ll be a lot of nerves and emotion around it, which is normal and natural in a Derby. We have to control that, and make sure we’re in the game and look to impose ourselves on the opposition.

“It’ll be even more special with supporters back. The players look forward to these games – both teams want to win and are competitive. It’s an exciting one for us to look forward to.”

How’s the team shaping up?

Ahead of the match, City are still without a number of players due to injury, including the absence of captain Stephanie Houghton who misses out due to an injury.

A total of eight players are in the treatment room in total with Vicky Losada the latest casualty. In their place, Ruby Mace is pushing for a start, as is Alanna Kennedy who could push Jill Scott into her usual position of midfielder after deputising in defence.

“Using Jill in that situation, it’s not her favoured position but she’s brought a lot in her leadership," added the Welshman. "She makes a difference for us in these difficult moments. We’ll check on that situation tomorrow.

“We've had this situation this season and last - maybe not to this extent but it’s not alien to us and we’re looking to get experience and characters on the pitch and good players.

“We’re suffering with our injury count and really looking forward to getting players back but in the meantime, we keep going and fighting.”

Can Caroline Weir deliver another match-winning performance? (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

One player who is available and has experience of delivering on the big occasion is experienced Scottish midfielder Caroline Weir.

Rival manager Marc Skinner has called on his team to create memories but the most memorable moment in the derby so far is her 25-yard strike in September 2019, which was nominated for a FIFA award.

Weir also scored a delightful chip in the 3-0 win in February which shows she has a knack of scoring against the opposition.

The 26-year-old has yet to record a goal contribution this season but Saturday provides an opportunity to get off the mark.

“Caroline has shown she’s more than capable for us, she's getting in the right areas, and has been involved in some of our successes in front of goal (this season). “I’m always challenging her to get more goals but her relationship on the left with Lauren Hemp has really grown over the last 12 months.

“If it’s Caroline or another player to step up and make the difference, the more options the better. “We've been challenging her on her positioning a lot. The goal she scored against United at the Etihad was once in a lifetime.

“We know she has the quality to connect from the edge of the box but it’s about getting her on the end of crosses too, we’re pushing her to do it. “Sometimes it arrives, sometimes it doesn’t, it’s about her trusting it and getting on as many as possible.”