Taylor provides positive fitness update ahead of Madrid clash

Gareth Taylor says there are no fresh injury concerns for Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifier against Real Madrid.

The two sides lock horns in a Group One final at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with the match getting under way at 20:00 (UK) and available to watch live on CITY+ and Recast.

Victory for either side would see them progress to the final round of qualification, with a two-legged play-off the last hurdle to the Group Stage.

City came into the tie on the back of a deserved 6-0 win over WFC Tomiris-Turan on Thursday, and the City boss was pleased to reveal that his side came through the encounter unscathed.

It means that, bar Ellen White’s being unavailable for personal reasons and Ruby Mace continuing her recovery from a summer injury at the Under-19 Euros, Taylor has a strong squad at his disposal against Las Blancas.

“I think everyone’s okay. We’ve had a [training] session in the last few hours, but everyone trained in that,” he explained.

“It’s difficult having two games in four days but the players have recovered well, there’s really good help and assistance here to help them replenish and get ready for this game.

“I think the two major things [from WFC Tomiris-Turan] were to win and to try to guarantee most came through unscathed to give us a good selection headache for this game and we’ve done that.

“The players have come back in good shape and recovered well. Everyone’s looking forward to the challenge.”

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City and Madrid locked horns in last season’s competition, with the Spaniards coming out on top in the final round of qualifying by a 2-1 aggregate score.

This time around it’s Las Blancas with the home advantage, but Taylor is confident that his players’ big game experience will ensure they aren’t affected by the atmosphere.

He also insists that, while there are some lessons to take from our previous encounters, we enter Sunday’s showdown with a renewed impetus.

The City boss said: “It would mean a lot [to beat Real Madrid] but I think for us, nothing changes.

“Success and failure, we’re very clear in what we’re trying to do and achieve, winning games is a big part of that, but this would give us a good boost.

“We are playing them on their own patch so there’s an extra bit in terms of dealing with the crowd, but these players have played at the top level and performed on bigger stages.

“For us, it’s about concentrating on what we can do and making sure we execute our game plan well.

“Of course, it’s really important, but we understand it’s a difficult task in front of us.

“The game last season completely different teams, [there have been] new signings for Madrid and us, and it’s about how they settle in quickly into a short period of pre-season.

“There’s bits we can look at, but also it’s about focusing on the now.”

City v Real Madrid live coverage

City’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid will be available to watch live on CITY+ and Recast.

Kick-off in the Round One final is set for 20:00 on Sunday August 21, with the winner progressing to Round Two of the competition’s League path and just two games from the Group Stage.

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