Steph Houghton: Man City captain "not ruling out" Women's Super League title chances

Steph Houghton

Last season, Manchester City pushed Chelsea all the way down to the wire in a thrilling Women's Super League title battle.

But the side that finished just two points shy of back-to-back champions Chelsea now look a shell of their former selves.

An injury-stricken squad has left Gareth Taylor without numerous key players, including his team captain.

Steph Houghton is currently sidelined due to an achilles injury she picked up on international duty with England. 

The skipper was forced to withdraw from the World Cup qualifying camp and has since missed three matches for Man City as well.

Lucy Bronze, Ellie Roebuck, and Chloe Kelly are also amongst those on Taylor's lengthy injured list. 

Since the start of the 2021/22 season, City have mustered just one win out of four league games and currently sit ninth in the WSL table. 

GiveMeSport Women sat down with Houghton to discuss City's current injury crisis and the troublesome start to a season predicted by so many to be huge for the blue side of Manchester.

Steph Houghton

"Injuries are part and parcel but unfortunately a lot of our injuries have happened at the same time to key players," the centre-back said. "It's been tough but ultimately that's football and we've got to deal with it and we've got to do what we can.

"As injured players, we have to support the team as much as we possibly can."

League hope not gone

Suffering three out of four possible defeats in the opening games of the season is enough to knock any team's confidence. Should Man City want to regain a glimmer of title challenge hope, they will need to turn the tide and perform flawlessly from here on out.

But the magnitude of the challenge is not something that's faltered Houghton's belief in her team.

Lauren Hemp and Lucy Bronze

"I'm not going to rule out the league just yet because stranger things have happened in football," the skipper admitted. "There's so many different years where different teams have looked out of the title race and then came back to do something special. 

"We have to keep believing. The objective before the season was to compete for as many trophies as we possibly can and yeah, we've got a tough game against Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup, but I think we always produce when it really matters."

Backing the team

It's often hard to see past the injury of one key player, let alone several all at the same time.

City have been lambasted with injuries since pre-season and the team faces an uphill climb if they want to catch up to the pack at the top of the WSL table.

Caroline Weir and Steph Houghton

Houghton stressed her faith in her players though, and praised the quality of this Man City side in full fitness.

"I have to believe in my team. Injuries aside, we have a squad that can compete with any team in the league when we play in the way we know we can. That level has probably dropped below standards over the last few weeks but ultimately, we have top internationals in our team with a lot of experience and probably the best youngsters coming through.

GMS Giveaway

"We have to believe. We know as a group we can be better but the only way that we can do that is putting it out on the football pitch and showing what we're really about. 

"I believe in my teammates and they've got my full backing over the next few weeks until I can help them out on the pitch again."

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