Jennifer Beattie insists Manchester City cannot afford to look beyond semi-final opponents Liverpool in their bid for SSE Women’s FA Cup glory, despite being just one game from a first trip to Wembley.
The Citizens defeated Bristol City 2-1 to reach the last four on Sunday, with Liverpool standing in their way of a place in the final where either Birmingham or Chelsea await.
But despite becoming a dominant force with recent FA Women’s Super League and FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup title to their name, the SSE Women’s FA Cup is one that has passed Beattie and co. by in recent years.
City have yet to even reach the final, trailing in the wake of 14-time winners Arsenal – who were themselves surprisingly knocked out at the hands of Birmingham in the last round.
But before Beattie is willing to think of the prospect of making history, the Scottish defender knows just how tough it will be to face a Liverpool side who more than gave them a battle last season.
“We drew against them twice so we know what a tough team they are,” said Beattie, who was present in the BBC Radio 5 live studio on Monday for the semi-final draws.
“They had a very strong performance to get the win in the last round against Notts County so they’ll be looking forward to the game just as much as we have.
“We’ve never made it to Wembley as a team yet so it’s one we want to go all the way in, but we have to focus on Liverpool first and foremost, they can’t be underestimated.
“They’re very well organised and have a lot of pace up front, have some great set-piece takers and great finishers too.
“They’ve scored a couple of goals against us which not many teams did last season.
“We had a really good pre-season behind us and we’ve had a few good results already, we’re feeling strong heading into the home leg of the Champions League as well, so we’ve been playing a lot of games.”
City enjoyed an almost perfect 2016 FA WSL season, drawing just three out of their 16 games – two of those coming against Liverpool.
Indeed the Reds were one of just two sides to take points away from the Academy Stadium last term, with City’s formidable form seeing them top the table by five points from Chelsea.
And with a potential 7,000 fans to fill out the stadium, Beattie was delighted to see their name first out of the hat as they look to go one better than their semi-final outing from last season.
She added: “We wanted anyone at home, any draw was going to be tough but we’re glad to get that at home and now we’re very much looking forward to it.
“We’ve been getting good crowds and we’re hoping to take that into this year, it’s a fantastic pitch that we love playing on week in, week out, so that was important for us.
“It’s one of the biggest competitions in England which is growing and growing, the crowds are increasing and hopefully that can continue.
“Having a Wembley final is a big deal for the players and it is that extra incentive for everyone involved to go on and do something special.”
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 13th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For the second consecutive year, kids go free to the final. Adult tickets cost £15 and can be purchased here: https://ticketing.thefa.com/