Skinner calls for Manchester United ‘moment of growth’ against Chelsea

The Red Devils have had a somewhat disappointing league campaign but have added their first major domestic trophy this season in the form of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup, while they recently recorded a first win against this weekend’s opponents Chelsea.

The destination of this season’s Barclays Women’s Super League title could depend on what happens in Manchester United’s match against Chelsea. Defeat for The Red Devils is likely to see neighbors Manchester City lose the title to Chelsea. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Skinner said he was looking at the “Manchester United narrative” of the occasion and that his team needed to use the game to benefit their own growth.

“There are a lot of narratives depending on which angle you look at it,” Skinner said. “I’m sure Chelsea feel the same way, City will feel differently and we’ll look at it differently.

“It will be a top game, we all know how difficult it is to play against Chelsea. Even in the FA Cup semi-final where we won, there were times when we had to dig deep and defend. Chelsea can attack any team in the whole country.

“We have to be at our best. Hopefully it will be a show piece for us following an FA Cup win, showing everyone the experiences we’ve had. We have to use it again as a moment of growth, that is very important.

“Sometimes the disappointment of not winning things can spur you on. Having success this weekend and then going into a big game like this will hopefully give us that momentum. It’s a platform we want to build from rather than any other narrative. It’s a Manchester United story for us and we know what we have to try and do.”

The game sees Emma Hayes take charge of Chelsea for the final time before taking up a new position as head coach of the United States. Skinner offered his best wishes to Hayes and says Manchester United must continue to build on their big-game experience to challenge the south-west Londoners’ achievements in the future.

He said, “The way she managed a successful group, a hungry group, to keep them hungry for a period of time is very difficult to do. She deserves a lot of credit for that because she has to keep people on the edge of their performance to win this league specifically. She has been unmatched in this for many years. We will miss that quality in the league but I wish him all the best.

“From our perspective, to emulate that, we have to keep growing the team, we have to keep growing the experiences. Games like the FA Cup final will help, it has to help, but we’re not there yet. For any team to emulate what Chelsea have done over a period of time, you have to be almost perfect and we have to aim for that.

“The experience of the previous day will definitely help build that passion, that commitment and that belief. You need confidence in the big games that you can win them, that will be a deciding factor.”

Saturday afternoon’s Barclays Women’s Super League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford kicks off at 3pm. Tickets remain on sale and can be purchased by clicking here.

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