Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor says Wednesday’s showdown with Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea is one of those “moments we should cherish”.
City are two points below Chelsea in the table with three games of the season remaining for each side.
Chelsea were crowned WSL champions in 2019-20 on a points-per-game ratio when they sat one point behind Manchester City with a game in hand.
The reverse fixture in October was won 3-1 by Chelsea at Kingsmeadow.
“It’s big. These are the reasons why you coach and want to be a manager because of moments like this,” said Taylor.
“This is what we’re in it for. It’s a great opportunity for us and a great advert for the women’s game – two big clubs slugging it out and going toe-to-toe right at the finale of the season.”
Asked whether the result will decide the title winner, Taylor said: “It looks that way but there’s still more football to be played after this game and I’m sure that’s what both coaches will be saying afterwards.
“I think we’ve shown amazing concentration and desire to get to this point. Now we’re here, we’re excited to have this opportunity and it’s something we’re looking forward to.”
Chelsea play the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Sunday but Taylor does not think that will distract the Blues from Wednesday’s WSL clash.
“I don’t think there’s ever a right or wrong time to play your title rival. So I don’t see that being an issue for them – especially with the squad they have,” he added.
‘Outcome will play massive factor in title’
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said the encounter will “for sure determine the direction [the title] will be heading in” but emphasised “we expected it all along”.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s a big game but it’s no different to different tests you have for the year and I think we always knew we had to go up there [to Manchester] and get a result so we’re prepared for something,” she added.
“Everybody knows the game between Man City and Chelsea is always a fiercely competitive game. There’s not a lot in it, but it can go either way.
“I think for the neutral and everybody at home it’s going to be a great game to watch, knowing that the outcome will play a massive factor in where the league title is going to end.
“I’ve been here long enough to know that I’m used to these games so forgive me for not sounding sort of delirious about it but it is just another one for us in what has already been a brilliant season so far.”
Chelsea will be without midfielder Maren Mjelde, who was ruled out for the season after suffering a knee injury in March, while Manchester City and England captain Steph Houghton remains absent with an Achilles problem.