Birmingham boss refuses to let cup defeat to City get him down
4 Manchester City 1 Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM manager Marc Skinner said he refuses to be disappointed with Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup final, instead using the loss as motivation to drive the team forward.
In what turned out to be a one-sided affair after three first-half goals from City’s Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen and Carli Lloyd put the game beyond doubt.
Birmingham substitute Charlie Wellings pulled a goal back for the Blues with 17 minutes remaining but Jill Scott added a fourth seven minutes later as City completed a domestic treble and won their first FA Cup.
However, Skinner wants his side to be remembered for the fight they put up after the break and believes that this young squad have an extremely bright future filled with trophies.
He said: “It was the first half, we had a plan but they were really clinical in that first period and fair play to them. That’s how they are built and we knew that from the start.
“We are disappointed we let them get that far ahead and we showed a bit more of ourselves in the second half but the game was already done.
“It’s a really big moment for a young group that will only learn from this and there are lot more positive moments ahead.
“We went in and said the press will write what they write, how do we want to be remembered in this final and I had an objective that ‘tenacious Birmingham’ [wasn’t what I wanted to be written] going forward.”
Skinner was candid about his feelings, choosing to look on the bright side and not letting one loss derail what has been an amazing run.
“You get to choose your emotion. I could be really disappointed but what’s that going to get me? I’m going to look at that medal every day, it’s going to be a driving motivation factor for me to get the next winning one.
“We’ll be disappointed with the result but we will be back.”
For City boss Nick Cushing, the target at the end of last season was to win the FA Cup but with the team racking up the miles over the past few weeks due to a congested fixture schedule, which saw them eliminated at the semi-final stage of the Champions League to Lyon, there was some doubt as to whether the Citizens would have enough left in the tank to get them through.
However, City showed no signs of fatigue and Cushing was delighted his side showed their clinical side when it mattered most.
“I’m ecstatic that we won it,” said Cushing.
“I’m proud of the players and performance today because we try not to make excuses but the schedule has been really busy.
“It’s been a little bit like trains, planes and automobiles recently — from France, to Manchester, to Bristol, to Reading and to put in that performance after that schedule is exceptional.
“Sometimes you have to play it down and sometimes you have to be really honest and say we hold the League Cup, hold the Women’s Super League title, went unbeaten, so this year our main target was the FA Cup and we are ecstatic now, we hold the domestic treble.
“We made it comfortable at times. We defended like we normally do and at times Birmingham played really good football and I said to Marc after that what he has done with this team is exceptional, they will be a very good team in the WSL.
“We are not really known for scoring lots of goals but we were really clinical today and that follows on from Bristol Rovers where we scored three.”