Manchester City Women boss Nick Cushing hailed goalkeeper Karen Bardsley after her penalty shoot-out heroics helped the side clinch their third Continental Cup in five years.

Following a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes against Arsenal, the England international saved both Leah Williamson and Danielle van de Donk's spot-kicks to hand City the cup. 


Having seen Gunners goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal keep out Lauren Hemp's penalty, Cushing admitted his City side were indebted to Bardsley's ability to step up in the big moments and help mount a comeback.

He said, as quoted by the Evening Express: "I know KB (Bardsley) practised a lot of penalties at the end of yesterday’s session.

“I think between her and our goalkeeping coach Chris Williams, they nailed it today, because they had all the information on the players.

“KB shows her strength of character, her ability to be a big keeper in big moments. She’s an incredible goalkeeper and an incredible person.”

After seeing his side spurn numerous opportunities throughout the game, including striking the crossbar twice in the opening 90 minutes, Cushing revealed he was beginning to lose hope over his side's chances of victory.

He added: "I was starting to think it was going to be one that got away. We just didn’t put the ball away and if you don’t you’ll draw games.

“Today I think we’re proud because the last six months, eight months, we’ve put in an incredible amount of work.

“It’s been a squad effort and to win the first trophy available after not winning anything last year shows the strength and the character of the group.”


Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro meanwhile, was left to rue star striker Vivianne Miedema's lack of fitness, with the Women's Super League's top-scorer only able to come off the bench in the 69th minute.

He said: "Viv didn’t recover entirely from the game on Wednesday (the WSL win against Yeovil).

“She was still feeling a little bit of fatigue and there were some areas which we felt that if she went through the whole 90 minutes we could put her at risk. So we had to make a decision.”


Both sides are now set for a three-week rest before returning to league action, with City taking on Reading and Arsenal hosting Bristol City.