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Manchester City

Nick Cushing issues rallying call for increased WSL crowds after ‘exceptional’ Manchester derby

20:29 IST 07/09/2019
Manchester City Women 2019
The Manchester City boss hopes that many of the 31,000 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be back to watch his team at their own ground

Manchester City boss Nick Cushing has urged fans to continue to come out and support the women’s team after a record-breaking attendance in the first ever Manchester derby in FA Women’s Super League.

More than 31,000 fans turned up to watch City beat Manchester United 1-0 at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a sublime strike from Caroline Weir.

Now, after what he described as an ‘exceptional’ game, Cushing wants to see more of those fans at the Academy Stadium, the team’s usual home ground.

“This was an occasion for us to showcase our women's team in a Manchester derby, but our home stadium is the Academy Stadium,” the 34-year-old said.

“We had an opportunity today to play in front of 31,000 people and hopefully we can drive a lot of those people into the Academy Stadium.

“Our football club does an incredible job supporting and showcasing our football teams, whether it be our men's or our women's team.

“We just want the fans to come now and consistently come, and I'm sure if they come and support us they'll see the journey that we've been on for the last six seasons.

“We win a lot of games, we hope they're impressed by our football style and we just want that crowd that we see in the Etihad week after week pushing our men's team on to come over to the Academy Stadium.

“Today we're pleased that we've added a win and we hope that will help.

“I think the logistics of playing two teams in the same stadium is so difficult,” Cushing continued, when asked if he’d like to see more of his team’s games played at the Etihad.

“If you look at the men's first team schedule and look at our schedule, they're so tight that we probably logistically couldn't do that.

“We've been successful in the Academy Stadium. That is our home. We want to drive in as many fans as we can.

“I think it will be really interesting now. We're excited to see what happens to our crowds and where our crowds go because we've just had the opportunity to play in front of 31,000 and I thought the standard of the game was exceptional.”

There were two particularly exceptional moments in the game, both coming from City players.

In the first half, Ellie Roebuck made a stunning one-handed save to deny Jane Ross, meaning that Caroline Weir’s rocket from 25 yards could be a deserved match-winner in the second period.

“The first save is a huge save because it's from four yards, and the ability to get across the goal and stop it going in shows Ellie's potential and class,” Cushing said, singing the praises of a goalkeeper still just 19 years old, but already capped at senior level by England.

“We know Ellie's potential and we just need to keep working with her, keep pushing her hard.

“She's got good potential but we need to make sure we keep improving her.”

He’s also hoping to see more from Weir, who was named as the game’s player of the match, as the season goes on.

“We're pushing Caroline hard because she shows that [quality] in training. I know that's a cliche but she's got incredible ability,” he said.

“She can be world class offensively. She's got good vision, she's got really high technical ability and she sees things that other players don't see, but she has to turn that into performances on a match day.

“She's repaid that today, but we'll push her hard now.”

City’s next game sees them begin their UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign, travelling to Switzerland where they will take on Lugano in the first leg of their round of 32 tie on Thursday 12 September.