New Manchester City Women boss Gareth Taylor has stated his readiness to face the pressure that comes with the role. The former Wales international understands the high expectations associated with his position as he takes over as the new permanent manager.
Former manager Nick Cushing set a high standard during his reign by winning six trophies in his six years with the team. Taylor will be expected to continue the winning tradition by maintaining City’s rise in the women’s game. Although he is not vastly experienced in women’s football, he has been a part of the City Football Group for the better part of the last decade.
The 47-year-old has been working at City’s academy since 2011. But his focus during that time has been on the development of talent. That’s quite different from his new role of taking the women’s team to the next level. Not only is he expected to keep the team competitive on the home front, European success is the next frontier to conquer.
The fact remains that there will be enormous pressure on the job in the years to come. The competition is getting better and the stakes higher in the women’s game.
As far as the Women’s Super League is concerned, Chelsea have recently developed into a force to be reckoned with in addition to Arsenal. The London sides will pose the biggest challenge to City in the coming years. That, plus the task of managing the first team for the first time both promise a huge test of Taylor’s managerial skills. But the man is undaunted by the task ahead.
“I feel personally that I’m ready for this moment,” Taylor stated when questioned about his preparedness for the role.
“It’s a big step up, a big responsibility but I’m looking forward to it. I’m under no illusions - I need to be successful and I’m confident I can be.
“There’s always pressure when you go into first-team football, no matter what the level is, whether the objective is fighting for survival or trying to win competitions. I enjoy that and I wanted this next step and the pressure that comes with it.”
That mindset should serve him well on the continent as the Champions League has been dominated by Lyon in the last few years. City will have to do better than fall to Atletico Madrid in the quarter final stage of the competition to prove progress under the Welshman. If his confident talk so far is anything to go by, progress will be made.
To that end, he has armed himself with the necessary advice from his predecessor Cushing, while learning as much as possible from the men’s first team manager Pep Guardiola. Asked about Cushing’s influence, he said:
“He’s been a great sounding board for me.
“It’s been great to see his growth and the opportunity that he’s had. The CFG is special and the important thing is it’s not just about the growth of the players but the staff as well.”
He then adds, on Guardiola: “I’m a big fan of the first-team manager and I’ve been so fortunate to be able to get a glimpse of that and get some interaction.
“Also Rodolfo Borrell (Guardiola’s assistant) and (academy director) Jason Wilcox.
“There are some really good people at CFG and the support there for you if you go and seek it out is great. It would be foolish not to use that.”
He rounded up by expressing his desire to add experienced players to his squad.
“If you want to progress, I don’t think you can rely solely on the young players,” he said.
“Experienced players set the standards, so we’ll always have our eye on the talent that is available coupled with the work we’re doing in the academy.”
Adding some experienced players to the team will afford him the opportunity to strengthen the squad. That will be important to maintain the team’s competitive edge. And hopefully, the result will be more success on the pitch.