Manchester City manager praises defender for half-time team talk

Speaking after his Manchester City side recorded a 0-4 win over Bristol City to keep their hopes of lifting the Barclays Women’s Super League trophy alive, Gareth Taylor piled on the praise for Steph Houghton.

The defender, who has announced that she will be retiring from professional football at the end of the season, was named on the bench for the clash at Ashton Gate – but Taylor hailed her half-time team talk and explained the impact it had on the players.

The Cityzens had been frustrated by a resilient Robins side throughout the first half in BS3, with Lauren Smith’s side needing three points to stand any chance of Barclays Women’s Super League survival.

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‘The way [Steph] spoke to the players and drove that performance in the second half which made my job easier,’ Taylor explained, adding that ‘it’s great credit to her because that’s not an easy job, but she is really there for the team. That’s what I like about this group is everyone works hard for each other.’

‘[Steph said] a few expletives, but it was more around the opportunity we’ve got and we’re not going to come here and blow it. Blow it being flat and not ourselves and maybe not showing the right energy, that was all it was and like I said, she just captures it at the right time with the right words.’

‘The players really respond to her and she’s always first in the team talk or the last to speak to the players before they go onto the pitch and she’s been amazing in that sense. Her role this season has changed of course, but she’s done it amazingly well.’