Willie Kirk: Everton Women boss says reaching FA Cup final was 'written in the stars'

Carlo Ancelotti's message to Everton Women: "Firstly, everyone in the club is really excited for this final, it's a great opportunity to increase the history of this club. The message I can say to them is don't go to play the final, go to win the final."

Everton's Nicoline Sorensen celebrates with team-mates after scoring her side's second goal during  Women's FA Cup semi-final against Birmingham City 0:27
Everton Women manager Willie Kirk says it was 'written in the stars' for his team to reach Sunday's FA Cup final against Manchester City

Everton Women manager Willie Kirk says it was "written in the stars" for his team to reach Sunday's FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.

The Toffees, who finished sixth in the Women's Super League during the curtailed 2019-20 campaign, toppled reigning champions Chelsea last month and then beat Birmingham to reach their first FA Cup final in six years.

Kirk, who previously talked up the importance of making the FA Cup his first piece of silverware, believes it was destiny for his players to reach the showpiece event but wants them to now go one better.

"The players felt when the competition got resurrected that it was almost a little bit written in the stars," he said.

"We got the game at Goodison and we obviously were fantastic against Chelsea and that belief just grew and grew.

Players of Everton celebrate at full time after victory in the Women's FA Cup Quarter Final match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on September 27, 2020
Image: Everton beat reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final

"I suppose the difficulty now, or the challenge for me, is to make sure we're not happy just being at Wembley, because we've reached our objective.

"We now want to go one better and actually I don't think there's any point going to Wembley unless you're going to win it."

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Carlo Ancelotti gave Everton Women his best wishes in his press conference on Friday, saying: "Firstly, everyone in the club is really excited for this final, it's a great opportunity to increase the history of this club.

"The message I can say to them is don't go to play the final, go to win the final."

Meanwhile, Kirk expects Izzy Christiansen to play a crucial role in Sunday's final against her former club after the England midfielder returned to the Toffees at the end of last year following spells at Birmingham, Man City and Lyon.

Izzy Christiansen was a member of the Lyon side who won last season's Women's Champions League
Image: Kirk expects Izzy Christiansen to play a crucial role in Sunday's final

"People like Izzy are absolutely essential to what we're trying to grow at the club," he added. We're trying to grow a group of winners, be successful.

"Izzy's been there and done it and her experience on a day-to-day basis is huge, never mind on a one-off occasion like this."

Christiansen struck the only goal for City in the 2014 Continental Cup final against Arsenal to secure them their first major trophy and Kirk said it would be "huge" if she proved to be the match-winner again.

"It would be pretty much full circle for her," Kirk said. "She was a young girl here and left to go and further her career. She did that very successfully, notably at Man City and Lyon.

"She's now come back and she's just as excited as players who haven't won a tournament before. She's desperate to play a major part in this club being successful again."

Scotland forward Claire Emslie, another former City player, will not feature for Everton at Wembley after joining on loan from Orlando Pride in August, but still has a big part to play on Sunday, according to Kirk.

"Claire also did it with Man City," Kirk added. "She's the one player who misses out for us in terms of us registering six new signings.

"She was the seventh, but again, her experience - she's won things. She's won titles in Australia, won things with Man City, she'll be huge in the changing room for us on Sunday."

City's England trio Jill Scott, Alex Greenwood and Lucy Bronze are all former Everton players, while Chloe Kelly and Esme Morgan both appeared for Everton earlier in the competition.

Kelly excited by 'dream' FA Cup final against Everton

Chloe Kelly 0:38
Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly says it will be a great occasion to face her old club Everton in the FA Cup final this weekend

Kelly played for Everton in the earlier rounds of this year's competition before joining City in July, and says she is excited to realise a childhood dream.

"Playing at Wembley is a dream come true," Kelly told Sky Sports News. "An FA Cup final against my former team is great."

Kelly was an unused substitute for Arsenal in their FA Cup final win against Chelsea in 2016 and the 22-year-old is "raring to go" as City bid to successfully defend their title.

"It's unbelievable to play against Everton and I actually started the FA Cup campaign, the same campaign with them," Kelly added.

"I remember sitting in a meeting and the first meeting was, 'We're going to get to Wembley', and I'm delighted that they have done."

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