Mark Sampson keen for Manchester City women to shine in Europe
Last Updated: 21/03/17 12:42pm
England manager Mark Sampson is backing Manchester City Women to end a decade of English failure in Europe by landing the Champions League title.
The target for the 34-year-old is to scoop the Euro 2017 trophy in Holland this summer, but he believes City counterpart Nick Cushing and his team can secure top-level silverware before then.
Cushing was in charge as City won the Women's Super League last season, and on Thursday the best-funded team in English women's football will tackle Danish side Fortuna Hjorring in the first leg of their European quarter-final.
Sampson insists the time has come for an English team to strike a blow for the WSL against the best on the continent.
"We need it," he said. "I do feel that the English clubs have probably underachieved in the Champions League for a number of years.
"With our status in the international game and in European football we need our domestic clubs to be getting to semi-finals and finals and maybe winning the trophy."
Arsenal conquered Europe in 2007 but they were the last English team to be finalists at the highest level of the club game. This year's Women's Champions League final takes place at the Cardiff City Stadium on June 1.
Sampson added: "If Manchester City can get to that semi-final, they can say they've established themselves as one of the big clubs in Europe, and as we all know when it gets to that semi-final stage details are so small, marginal differences, and you can go all the way or you can get knocked out.
"I'm sure Nick and their team have got a lot of belief they can win that tournament and in my mind there's no reason why they can't."
England lean heavily on a contingent from City which includes captain Steph Houghton and club-mates Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze and Jill Scott.
City have also added FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd to their ranks, and Sampson sees no reason to question their credentials, even if heavyweights Wolfsburg or Lyon would await in the last four.
"I look at the quality of their players and the quality of the coach and the attitude of the team, and now the addition of Carli," Sampson added.
"There's no reason why they can't go and win that tournament this year which would be a huge feather in the cap of the country and Manchester City in a European Championship year."