Stoney delighted with second-half showing

Sunday 28 March 2021 13:06

Casey Stoney felt Manchester United Women put in an excellent second-half showing in Saturday’s 2-0 WSL victory over West Ham United.

It was a momentous afternoon for our Women's side, who were playing a first-ever game at the Theatre of Dreams, although after 45 minutes, the boss wasn't particularly pleased with the performance from her side.

However, an excellent second period from United, that included goals from Lauren James and Christen Press, meant Casey was feeling much more upbeat after the final whistle.

“I think it was definitely a game of two halves,” she told club media. “First half, we weren’t good enough, but the players knew that, I knew that. 

“We needed to make a few tweaks: move the ball quicker, play as a collective. We didn’t do that in the first half, but I have to say the response after half-time was really good.
Stoney reacts to historic clash Video

Stoney reacts to historic clash

Casey gives her view on the win over West Ham at Old Trafford...

“We kept a clean sheet - I thought we defended set-pieces much better, which was pleasing. We probably could have had, and should have had, more goals.”

“We knew that they were going to be hard to break down [in the first half],” she continued. “They played 5-4-1; you have to move the ball, you have to move them. We didn’t do that enough. 

“I thought we were sloppy and caused our own problems at the back, which we didn’t need to do. I always credit the players, they always respond and the second half was much better.

“They’re not our standards in the first half and it’s a different occasion, I appreciate we’re playing in a big stadium and it’s a new surface. Maybe there was an element of that.”
The result means United stay in third place above Arsenal, although the Gunners victory over Tottenham Hotspur later on Saturday means they can still overtake the Reds, should they win their game in hand.

For that reason, Casey feels United can’t afford any slip-ups between now and the end of the season if we are to secure a Champions League spot.

“We’ve got 12 points to play for and we want to take all the maximum points we’ve got by being like how we were in the second half,” said the boss.

“You drop any points now and it’s over. We know that and it’s not in our hands anyway. But what we have done is put three points on the board and control what we can control.”
Highlights: MU Women's first match at Old Trafford Video

Highlights: MU Women's first match at Old Trafford

Watch what happened when United Women played a historic first match at the Theatre of Dreams, on 27 March 2021...

It was, of course, an historic afternoon at the Theatre of Dreams and Casey is already looking forward to playing at Old Trafford again, hopefully, with the added bonus of fans in attendance.

“In the first half I didn’t enjoy it, but obviously the second half was much better,” she opined. “It’s obviously great to play here. The surface is unbelievable, in terms of the players being able to move the ball around.

“It’s great that we’re here; it’s a momentous occasion and for me it should, and will be, just the start of many.

“Can you imagine this place full with a crowd as well? Hopefully, once we get the fans back next year, we can do it again. Now the players have experienced it and hopefully we can come out and give a good performance again.”