Gareth Taylor insists his Manchester City side are in a ‘much healthier place’ heading into the new season in comparison to this time last year.
City saw their 2021/22 campaign derailed by an unprecedented injury crisis during the first half of the campaign, leaving their title hopes as good as over by Christmas.
However, they transformed their fortunes with a hugely impressive second half of the season, beating rivals Manchester United to the WSL’s final Champions League spot and lifting the Continental Cup.
The City squad has been refreshed this summer with six new arrivals – all of whom are senior internationals – and as a result Taylor believes they will be better equipped should they be struck by injuries again this time around.
“I think it’s difficult to compare, but if we were to sustain the injuries that we did or a similar number then we’re in a much healthier place to adapt and face that challenge,” the City boss said.
“Of course we would hope that the condition of the players is better this season, and we won’t sustain the injuries that we did because we were trying to squeeze too much into too small of a period.”
City got their 2022/23 season underway on Thursday evening as they beat Tomiris-Turan 6-0 to progress in the Champions League. They will face Real Madrid – the side who knocked them out of last season’s competition – in a winner takes all one-legged Round 2 clash on Sunday.
Thursday evening’s victory saw Steph Houghton come on in the second half for her first competitive minutes since January, having missed the bulk of the 2021/22 season with an Achilles injury. Esme Morgan was also among the substitutes for the first time since suffering a broken leg in September 2021.
“We had her (Steph) kind of sporadically last season at the beginning,” Taylor added. “Then we lost her and had her again at the beginning of January, lost her again until the end of the season. It’s making sure we build Steph back up in the right way, the right manner.
“Esme today wasn’t quite ready, she had a little niggle so we didn’t want to take a risk, but again she’s looking good. To have two players back like the likes of Steph and Esme in the back line gives us really good options.”