Women's FA Cup final: Carli Lloyd on adding to Olympic gold and World Cup wins

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at Wembley

Carli Lloyd scores important goals, wins major medals and performs on the big stage. She demands and expects it.

"It's what I am all about," the United States midfielder explained. "I step it up extra levels for finals and I want to win as many things as I can.

"The biggest reason why I am able to be in the big moments is the mentality and the mental peace. I pride myself in focusing and not letting outside distractions get in my way."

Continuing the superstar trend with another goal and winner's medal, as Manchester City romped past Birmingham City 4-1 in the Women's FA Cup final, was hardly a surprise. Not being undisputed top billing perhaps was.

The current, and two-time, World Player of the Year, 2015 World Cup winner, Olympic champion and one of the greatest women players ever was just happy to play "a small part" - as she modestly describes her contribution - in a victory that means City are now in possession of all three main domestic honours.

But the manner of City's win, achieved thanks to a blistering 14-minute first-half spell, was all about the team ethic, ruthless efficiency and astute tactics.

Manchester City Women celebrate
Man City Women are the first team since Arsenal in 2011 to hold all three main domestic honours

Lloyd's header for a 3-0 lead saw Birmingham as good as beaten by the break. The 34-year-old - scorer of 96 goals in 232 international appearances - was always going to leave her mark.

And coming in front of a competition-record crowd of more than 35,000, at a time when Notts County Ladies - one of England's top-flight teams - have just folded, it was a much-needed boost for women's football.

Lloyd has "loved" her time in Manchester but medals are medals, and she clearly needed to make her, and her temporary club's, success tangible.

"It has been fantastic," she added. "It has definitely helped me improve. The organisation has been phenomenal.

"This facility [at City] is unbelievable. I don't think anything compares to it.

"They really pride themselves on focusing on the women, and wanting to do all they can, and the girls have been fantastic. I have been soaking it all up and taking advantage of everything."

Lloyd took advantage of some generous goalkeeping to head her goal, her third at Wembley, having scored twice when the United States won Olympic gold at London 2012.

She said the feeling was "special". "It was a corner kick that was rehearsed in training. Megan Campbell whipped in a phenomenal leftie. I had my eye on it the whole time. I screamed for it and Steph [Houghton] ducked and I attacked the ball.

"The 2012 Olympics is near and dear to my heart, and I am not sure when I will be back here again. It's a great stadium.

"I knew making the decision to come here that I could be a part of an FA Cup final and potentially win one."

Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd's career has brought team and individual success

While Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been flexing their muscles in recent times, City are leading the way.

The reigning Women's Super League champions, and Continental Cup and FA Cup holders are also well-placed to add the WSL Spring Series title to their collection, a feat Lloyd could well help them achieve before her contract expires in early June, when the league concludes.

But if City want to conquer Europe, then the standard needs to go up another notch. Lloyd's influence during her short stint in England is an inspiration.

Her drive and dedication sets her apart from most other players.

"I don't ever switch off; my life is consumed around my training," she said. "When I wake up, it's 'when am I training?' That's all that matters to me.

"I visualise and do all the right things. When it comes down to it, the best players and best athletes all have that extra edge because of their mental strength, and I think that has been huge for me."

City captain Houghton is already thinking about success beyond these shores: "We've got to make sure that we retain these titles and we've got to make the next step in the Champions League.

"We've had a little taste of the semi-finals, but we want to keep going until we win it."

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